Preview: Knights Return to Houston for Friday Fight

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ORLANDO – The last time the UCF men's basketball team traveled to Houston the Knights upset the then sixth-ranked Cougars 69-64 in front of a sold-out Fertitta Center. This Friday, UCF returns to the Space City to take on The American preseason favorite.
On March 2 of last season, the Knights defeated the Cougars in their home arena to spark a historic run. UCF returned home to defeat 19th-ranked Cincinnati and went on to earn the program's first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Collin Smith, this season's leading scorer, had his best game of the 2018-19 season in Houston. He led the Knights with 21 points and seven rebounds to top the Cougars on their home floor. This season, he's averaging 13.3 points per game to lead the way.
The Knights (9-4, 0-1) have dropped each of their last two games, their first back-to-back losses of the season. UCF fell to Temple 62-58 in the American Athletic Conference opener on Tuesday.
Houston (10-3, 0-0), meanwhile, has yet to play a conference contest. The Cougars have won their last four games, most recently a 75-71 victory over Washington at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.
Date: Friday, Jan. 3
Time: 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game
SETTING THE SCENE                                                             

  • The UCF men's basketball team had a successful non-conference season, going 9-3 overall, but dropped the first game of the American Athletic Conference season to Temple, 62-58.
  • The Knights have now lost two straight games for the first time this season and look to get back in the win column on the road Friday at Houston.
  • Last year, the Knights upset the then No. 6 Cougars 69-64 on March 2 following Houston hosting ESPN College GameDay on campus at the Fertitta Center.

LAST SEASON'S UPSET                             

  • The Knights' five-point win late last season sparked a historic run for the program.
  • UCF followed up the win with a home victory over No. 19 Cincinnati, which helped the Knights earn their first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.
  • Collin Smith had the best game of his sophomore season in the win over the Cougars, scoring 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and grabbing seven rebounds.
  • Tacko Fall had 13 points and 10 boards, while Aubrey Dawkins and B.J. Taylor each had 11 points in the win.

TEMPLE TAKES DOWN KNIGHTS                                        

  • After winning six straight games, UCF dropped its second consecutive game for the first time in 2019-20 on Dec. 31, falling to Temple by four points in Orlando.
  • The Knights led by as many as nine points, held a five-point advantage at the break, and led by seven points with less than six minutes to go in the game, but couldn't close it out.
  • UCF turned the ball over five times in the final four minutes and only attempted three field goals during the span.
  • Temple closed the game on a 13-2 run and earned the four-point road victory.

DON'T FORGET ABOUT DRE                                  

  • Dre Fuller Jr. sat out all of last season as a true freshman, practicing every day with B.J. Taylor, Aubrey Dawkins and Tacko Fall.
  • In his first season of competition, Fuller has come on strong since the Nov. 23 game against Charleston, starting each of the last nine games for the Knights.
  • Fuller has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games and is averaging 7.5 points per game on the season.

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