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Monday, October 25, 2021

Men's Basketball

Cougars look to better conference record against UCF


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Senior forward Devonta Pollard looks to carry some momentum against University of Central Florida after putting up a career high 34 points against University of Memphis. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

The Cougars continue their quest for a conference championship Saturday afternoon when they face the University of Central Florida Knights for the first time this season.

Senior Devonta Pollard put up a career high 34 points, leading a second half comeback that guided the Cougars to 98-90 win over the University of Memphis Tigers on Wednesday.

“My whole mindset coming out from the locker room (after the half) was to do whatever I could to help my team get this win,” Pollard said. “Even if it meant that I had to do everything on the defensive end and not worry about offense at all, or if I needed to make big shots. My mindset was just doing what I needed to do to help my team get this win.”

The Knights are hoping to rebound from a 69-51 loss to the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. Matt Williams’ career 24 points couldn’t overcome the 13 second-half turnovers that doomed the Knights. The loss dropped the Knights to 5-6 in the American Athletic Conference.

“It’s conference time; some of these young guys got to be able to push through it mentally,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. “We got to control the things that we can control. Mentally and physically, we got worn down.”

UH guard Rob Gray Jr. is in jeopardy of missing his fourth straight game after suffering an injury at East Carolina University. UH head coach Kelvin Sampson said Gray has a 50/50 chance of playing against UCF, but it’s looking more like he will make his return against Tulane.

“You want him to feel comfortable,” Sampson said. “I have been doing this for a long time, and I know one thing when it comes to kids, and pain is an opinion. Some have a high opinion of it, and some have a low opinion of it.”

With the American Athletic Conference tournament right around the corner, the Cougars can’t afford to get caught looking ahead and lose a game.

“UCF is one of those teams that is talented; you have to really prepare the right way for them,” Sampson said. “I don’t think we are good enough to overlook anybody.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. inside Hofheinz Pavilion. As a Valentine’s Day weekend discount, fans can purchase two general admission tickets for the price of one.

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