Men's Hoops Visits Temple for Final Road Game of Regular Season

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PHILADELPHIA – The UCF men's basketball team is set for its final road game of the regular season as it's set to face Temple on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip.

The Knights are coming off a 19-point win on the road at Tulsa, a 68-49 final. It's the fifth time this season that the Black and Gold pitched a "defensive masterpiece," when they hold the opponent to 50 points or less. Tulsa scored just 14 points in the first half, which happened to be the same number of points that Taylor Hendricks scored by himself. Hendricks went on to score 25 points in the game, a new career high. The 14 points scored by Tulsa in the first half was the lowest of the season allowed by the Knights and the lowest that Tulsa has ever scored in their home venue, a building that opened in December 1998. Ithiel Horton had a career-high six steals in the contest and added 12 points.

UCF has been thriving from the three-point line this season, netting nine triples per game. The mark is ranked 31st nationally and the most in the Johnny Dawkins era. The Black and Gold shoot 36.3% from the three-point line, a clip that is first in the conference and 71st in the country. Not only is UCF shooting well from three-point land, but they defend it at a great rate as well, holding opponents to a 31% average. That ranks 40th in the country and second in the conference.

C.J. Kelly is officially on 1,000 career points watch as he is now just 31 away from achieving the career milestone. His season and career high in points is 30, which he posted earlier this season on the road at ECU on Jan. 4.

UCF fell in its first contest against Temple in an absolute heartbreaker. The 77-70 overtime defeat was part of the Knights' five game losing skid without Michael Durr in the lineup. After going down seven at halftime, the Black and Gold fought back, down by as many as 10, to tie the game in the dying seconds. Down two, Darius Johnson went to the charity stripe and missed his first free throw. After a timeout, he intentionally missed the second, grabbed the rebound and was fouled in the act of shooting. He sunk both free throws from the line with less than two seconds to go, forcing the extra segment. Temple went on to outscore UCF 15-8 in overtime, forcing the Knights into their fourth straight loss.

Temple enters the contest with a record of 15-14 and a 9-7 mark in conference play. It's been a roller coaster of a year for the Owls, as they had won five of their last six after beating UCF in overtime back on Jan. 28. Since that win, Temple has lost five of its last six, essentially negating their early season run to one of the top spots in the conference. The Owls are coming off a tough loss on the road at Cincinnati, an 88-83 final in overtime back on Feb. 22.

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