Temple (5-6) at UCF (8-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CFE Arena (9,465) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: ESPNews. Home Record: Temple 1-2, UCF 7-2. Away Record: Temple 1-2, UCF 1-2. Neutral Record: Temple 3-2, UCF 0-0. Conference Record: Temple 0-1, UCF 0-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting
GAME NOTES: The UCF Knights had a five-game win streak interrupted in their last contest, and look to get back in the win column again as they host the Temple Owls in American Athletic Conference action on Saturday.
Earlier in the season, Temple had a three-game winning streak going before the team derailed and lost three of its next four. The Owls are coming off a 71-66 loss to conference foe Rutgers on Wednesday.
UCF was playing well until the Knights ran into defending national champion Louisville, losing the conference opener to the Cardinals, 90-65. Including hosting the Jackson Hewitt in t he UCF Holiday Classic, the Knights have been playing at home for six consecutive games, winning five of them. The homestand will end with Temple Saturday.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the Owls and Knights as they continue their new American Athletic Conference schedules. Besides the loss to Rutgers, the only other team in the league Temple has ever faced before is Houston.
Temple held a lead against Rutgers for much of the second half, but couldn't hang on against the Scarlet Knights. Quenton DeCosey led the Owls with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range. Dalton Pepper was the only other Temple player to manage double digits in the contest, scoring 19 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists on the night. Anthony Lee scored eight points but pulled in 13 rebounds to pace the Owls. As a team against Rutgers, the Owls shot just 33.3 percent from the floor.
Four Owls average double digits this season, led by Pepper at 17.4 ppg. Will Cummings is second with 16.5 ppg, and DeCosey is third, averaging 15.6 ppg. Lee is the team leader in rebounding, bringing down an average of 9.8 rpg, while Pepper ranks second on the team with a 5.9 rpg average. As a team, Temple is averaging 78.6 ppg on 45.3 percent shooting from the field.
UCF found itself down by 19 points to Louisville just eight minutes into the game with the defending NCAA champions, but made a 13-0 run to get back into the game. It didn't last very long, as the Cardinals connected on 3-pointer after 3-pointer toward the end of the first half and beginning of the second to break away. Isaiah Sykes paced the Knights in scoring with 19 points in the contest - the only UCF player to record double digits against Louisville. He added nine rebounds and three assists to his overall performance. Calvin Newell and Eugene McCrory each contributed eight points in the loss.
Sykes and Newell both lead the team in scoring this season, averaging 14.3 ppg. The two are also tied atop the team leader board in assists with 40 total. Sykes boasts a rebounding average of 5.8 rpg, good for third on the Knights' roster. Tristan Spurlock is third on the team in scoring, averaging 13.8 ppg and leads the team with a 6.7 rpg clip. The Knights as a team are hitting 46.8 percent from the floor, but only 58.6 from the charity stripe.
The Louisville game aside, UCF is playing strong basketball at this point in the season, and will look to take advantage of one more home matchup before hitting the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 80, Temple 73
01/04 10:32:19 ET