Men's Basketball

Cougars fall flat against UCF

Aubrey Coleman did his usual scoring damage against UCF on Tuesday, putting up 26 points to lead all scorers. But the senior guard didn’t get much help from his teammates, as the Cougars fell to the Knights, 68-65. | Justin Flores/The Daily Cougar

After getting offensive contributions from a cast of supporting characters during their two-game win streak, the Cougars reverted to their old ways Tuesday.

That meant a heavy dose of Aubrey Coleman’s scoring and not a whole lot of anything else. It also meant an end to the streak, as UH fell 68-65 to Central Florida at UCF Arena in Orlando.

Coleman, the nation’s leading scorer at 25.6 points per game entering Tuesday, finished with a game-high 26 points, but shot only 8-of-24 from the field. The rest of the team shot 15-of-39, but the Cougars (13-12, 5-6 Conference USA) were unable to neutralize the Knights’ backcourt combo of Marcus Jordan and A.J. Rompza.

Jordan, who lit up the Cougars for a career-high 23 points in UCF’s 78-71 win at Hofheinz Pavilion on Jan. 20, scored a team-high 18 points Tuesday, and Rompza handed out 10 assists to go with eight points and four steals.

UH still had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds. Kelvin Lewis missed a pair of free throws, but UH was awarded possession after the rebound deflected off a Knights player. With less than a second remaining, head coach Tom Penders called for a 3-pointer from Adam Brown on the inbounds, but Brown’s jumper was off the mark.

UH held its own early in the second half, turning a one-point halftime deficit into a five-point lead behind an 8-2 run to open the period. UCF (13-12, 5-6) answered with a 12-4 run to take a 47-44 lead with 14:26 remaining. After trading buckets and several leads over the next 10 minutes, the two teams were tied at 62 with 4:15 left.

UCF’s A.J. Tyler gave the Knights a two-point lead with a driving layup, but Sean Coleman answered by tipping in his own miss to tie the game at 64. After Brown made one of two free throws, Tyler came back with another layup to give UCF a 66-65 lead with 2:51 remaining.

Jordan and Rompza each made one of two free throws to extend the lead to 68-65 with 1:09 left. After Aubrey Coleman, Lewis and Brown each missed consecutive 3-pointers, UH still found itself with one last chance.

Unfortunately for UH, that last opportunity came too little, too late.

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