NCAA Basketball

Streaking Cincinnati prepares to host confident UCF

After a strong defensive performance at home on Friday, the UCF Knights will look to continue to play well with their backs to the hoop when they face the host Cincinnati Bearcats for the second time this season on Sunday.

The Knights won the first American Athletic Conference meeting between the schools, 75-70, in Orlando on Dec. 22.

If Friday's win over Tulane is any indication of how the Knights (6-10, 4-9 AAC) will come out against the Bearcats (6-7, 4-4), then hosts can expect a tough time scoring.

UCF shut down the Green Wave's offense in a 53-49 win, holding the visitors to just 31.6 percent field-goal shooting (18 of 57) after trailing 30-29 at halftime.

In winning for the second time in three outings, coach Johnny Dawkins' squad outscored Tulane 24-19 in the second half and allowed the New Orleans school only six baskets on 27 attempts.

Tulane strung together a 10-0 second-half run six minutes in, but UCF matched it later and clamped down on the Green Wave by forcing them to miss their final seven shot attempts and nine of their last 10 overall to earn the victory.

"Our defense was really good in the second half," Dawkins said. "It was solid, and we've really been preaching that.

"The last three games we've been holding opponents down, and that's UCF basketball. We've been defending like we want to, and everyone gave great effort tonight."

Darin Green Jr. led with 18 points on 6-for-10 long-range shooting.

"It's all mental -- you have to want it on defense," Green added. "We came down and locked in and stopped them."

After Thursday's game at Memphis was postponed because of a positive COVID-19 test in the Tigers' program, Cincinnati beat Temple 71-69 on Friday as Jeremiah Davenport collected 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

The Bearcats improved to 2-0 against Temple despite the Owls tallying 43 points in the second half.

Davenport said the team's balance was key in the win.

"That's what coach preaches about -- togetherness," Davenport said. "None of our guys are selfish. We play for each other. That's what we did tonight."

David DeJulius was named to the AAC's Weekly Honor Roll on Monday after averaging 19.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists and helping the Bearcats go 2-0 after they returned from a 25-day layoff from COVID-19.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 13, 2021

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