Big Second Half Propels UCF Past Cougars in League Opener
Dec. 28, 2013
HOUSTON---The Cougars commanded a 31-27 lead at halftime, but UCF put up 40 points in the second half to get by Houston, 67-59, Saturday afternoon at Hofheinz Pavilion, in what was the first ever American Athletic Conference game.
Fans couldn't have asked for a better game on this historic day, as the contest sported six lead changes and nine ties, while no team led by more than 12 points throughout in what was also Wade Scott's debut as the Cougars' Interim Head Coach.
Senior forward Te'onna Campbell notched her third straight double-digit scoring game, and seventh overall this season, as she scored a team-high 16 points and recorded 10 rebounds for her second consecutive double-double and fourth on the year overall.
Sophomore guard Alecia Smith poured in a season-high 15 points off the bench, as she knocked in a season-best four three-balls on the afternoon, while senior center Yasmeen Thompson pulled down a game-high and season-high 13 rebounds, while pouring in seven points for the Cougars (4-8, 0-1 American) in the loss.
UCF's (8-4, 1-0 American) Briahanna Jackson led all scorers, as she recorded 24 points and eight rebounds. Erika Jones was the only other Knight to score in double-figures, as she went for 12 points and pulled down a team-high typing 10 rebounds in the win.
The Cougars fell behind early, as the Knights jumped out to a 9-2 lead, after Jackson connected on a mid-range jumper with 14:31 left to play.
However, Houston would respond, going on a 10-3 run of its own over the next three-plus minutes to tie things up at 12-12 with 10:56 left in the half, thanks to three-pointers by Marche' Amerson and Smith.
From then on, no team would lead by more than four points for the remainder of the period, while the two sides found themselves tied on eight separate occasions in the half, before Smith splashed home a trey from the left wing in the closing seconds of the first half to give the Cougars a 31-27 advantage at the break.
Houston scored 10 points off of 12 forced turnovers in the first half, while the Cougar bench outscored the Knights' reserves 16-4.
But UCF was able to lock down on defense in the second half, holding Houston to just two field goal conversions over the first nine-plus minutes of the period, as it jumped out to a 46-39 lead with 11:32 left in the game.
The Knights worked their lead to as high as 59-47 with 7:03 left to play in the game, before the Cougars went on a 10-2 run of their own to close the gap to 61-57 with 3:35 remaining.
Houston hung around to the very end, at one point cutting the deficit to four again, after Campbell converted on an sweeping drive to the basket with 32 seconds remaining, but in the end it just wasn't enough.
The Cougars will try to rebound and notch their first league win of the season when they take on USF, Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. inside Hofheinz Pavilion.