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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 4, 6:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Liacouras Center (10,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPNews. Home Record: UCF 9-7, Temple 3-9. Away Record: UCF 2-9, Temple 1-9. Neutral Record: UCF 0-0, Temple 3-3. Conference Record: UCF 3-12, Temple 2-14. Series Record: UCF leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Two teams at the bottom of the American Athletic Conference will square off on Tuesday as the UCF Knights visit the Temple Owls at the Liacouras Center.
UCF fell, 70-55, to nationally-ranked SMU on Saturday. The loss was the third in the last four games for the Knights, who are just 11-16 overall and tied for eighth place in the AAC standings with South Florida (3-13). The regular season comes to an end for the team this Friday against Houston.
Temple has been even worse than UCF this season. The Owls, who are 7-21 overall and dead last in the AAC (2-14), have lost eight of their last nine games, including an 89-79 home setback against Houston this past Saturday. They visit South Florida to end the campaign.
These teams met for the first time ever earlier this season, when UCF earned a 78-76 home win on Jan. 4.
UCF did not have much luck offensively in its recent loss to SMU. The Knights only hit on 37.5 percent of their shots from the floor, while also being outscored, 20-9, from the free-throw line. Isaiah Sykes had 18 points to lead the way in the losing effort.
Sykes (16.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.5 apg) is one of the more talented guards in the conference, as he does much more than score for the Knights. He also leads the team on the boards and in assists. However, putting points on the board is Sykes' main objective and one he has been extremely successful in, as he is shooting a career-high 36.4 percent from 3-point range as part of a 46.2 percent overall shooting effort. Tristan Spurlock (11.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) is the second option for the unit, but he was held scoreless on a 0-of-5 shooting performance against SMU.
Temple had a terrible night at the defensive end of the court in its recent loss to Houston. The Owls allowed the Cougars to knock down 61.5 percent of their shots from the floor, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range in the loss. Dalton Pepper paced the losing side with 24 points on 9-of-20 shooting.
Slowing teams down has been the biggest problem for Temple this season, which is letting up 78 ppg on 47.7 percent shooting, unheard of numbers for the program under head coach Fran Dunphy. Pepper (17.2 ppg) leads a group of four double-digit scorers, who have done their best to outshoot the competition. Will Cummings (16.4 ppg, 4.4 apg) runs the point and scores well. He had 18 points and eight assists against Houston. Quenton DeCosey (15.1 ppg) also provides scoring punch, and Anthony Lee (13.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg) holds down the top spot in the AAC in rebounding.
UCF has only won two of its 11 games on the road this season. Temple may not be the most dominant home team in the country (3-9), but the Owls should be given a slight edge in this battle of cellar dwellers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 75, UCF 72
03/04 10:33:34 ET
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