Men's Hoops Drops Road Contest at Tulane

Stats (PDF)

NEW ORLEANS – The UCF men's basketball team saw its three-game winning streak snapped by Tulane as they fell by a final of 77-69. Tyem Freeman led the Knights in scoring with a career-high 22 points in his first start of the season and second of his career.

"We have to keep getting better," said head coach Johnny Dawkins. "We have to learn from this game. It was a tough environment and we have to grow from it. It's all about trying to get better throughout the season and there will probably be a lot of lessons when we go back and watch the film that we can learn from."

The Knights struggled from the field throughout the first half, making just one three pointer in 16 attempts and shooting 27.8% from the field in total. Freeman and Taylor Hendricks led the Knights in scoring with seven points each. The score at halftime read 38-23.

Tulane continued to surge out of the halftime locker room, building a lead as big as 19 with 17:24 left to play.

UCF didn't go quietly though, fighting back with four straight makes to cut the deficit to nine. Brandon Suggs and Jayhlon Young hit one three pointer each while Freeman gathered a pair of layups on the run.

The Green Wave once more built their lead to 17, going up 56-39 with 12:50 to go. The Knights once again rallied, going on a 13-2 run to cut the lead to just six at 58-52 with just under nine minutes remaining.

The Knights continued to keep the contest close, never trailing by more than 10 down the final nine-minute stretch. UCF cut the Tulane edge to three points after a made jump shot from Freeman, who was crucial down the stretch as the Knights worked their way back with 3:08 on the clock.

Both sides couldn't find a way to score during the next two minutes, leaving the game up in the air as the seconds ticked away. It wasn't until 36 seconds were left on the clock that Tulane was able to make a layup to go back up five. A quartet of free throws inside 24 seconds left ended UCF's hopes of a comeback.

The Knights looked like more of themselves from the three-point arc in the second, going eight-of-seventeen from beyond the arc, good enough for a 47.1% clip. They finished the contest with a 27.8% mark while going 36.8% from the field.

Hendricks finished the contest with 15 points and 11 rebounds, tallying his fourth double-double of the season. He now has scored 15 points or more in 10 of UCF's 18 games and has been in double digits in 15 contests. Hendricks also tallied three blocks, improving his streak to 10 straight games with a rejection.

Freeman far exceeded his career-high in points, netting 22 points to top his previous best of 14 achieved at Temple on Dec. 15, 2021. He also tied his career high in rebounds with seven and set a season high in assists with four.

Kelly scored 17 points in the contest and has tallied 15 points or more in three of the last four games.

The Knights are now 13-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play. Houston, Tulane and Temple sit ahead of UCF currently with conference records of 5-0, 5-1 and 4-1 respectively.

The Black and Gold are back in action a week from today as they'll head west on I-4 to face South Florida on Saturday at noon. The game will be televised on ESPNU and can be heard on FM 96.9 The Game.

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