Three days after falling to Memphis 76-70 and dropping below the .500 mark, the UCF mens basketball team bounced back with a big win over Tulane on Saturday night.
The Knights were knotted with the Green Wave at halftime, as they struggled to break away in an increasingly defensive game.
Things got worse in the second period, as they watched Tulane outpace them by 8 points heading into the closing minutes.
"We gutted it out," Coach Kirk Speraw said after the game. "It shows a sign of maturity and competitiveness that we need to have."
But the Knights accelerated late in the second half, just as they shut down the Tulane offense. They forced the Green Wave to shoot just 33.3 percent overall, while pushing their own shooting to 50 percent.
Much of that shooting prowess came from A.J. Rompza who, burdened by more inconsistency from his teammates, carried the scoring by himself with 17 points, 9 of which came from 3-point land. He also picked up 4 assists while playing a season-high 39 minutes on the floor.
Despite taking more shot attempts than anybody, Marcus Jordan picked up just 8 points on a 4-for-10 night. He did however once again tie for the lead in steals with 3. Scrappy play and an uncanny ability to pull off no-look bullet passes have come to define the Knights' guard, who picked up 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the game.
Also making a big contribution was Isaac Sosa, who hit 13 points.
After taking on Houston at press time, the Knights travel to Southern miss for an 8 p.m. Saturday tipoff. They return home at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 for their first showdown against UAB.
The Rollins Tars returned to their winning ways with two straight stompings of conference foes this past week. They trampled Barry 70-59 on Feb. 10 and edged Tampa again 61-59 on Feb. 13.
That most recent win included going point-for-point with Tampa for a nerve-wracking final period, which saw both teams score 31 points, as the Tars (19-4, 10-2) narrowly held onto a lead they'd carried over from the half.
Nick Wolf picked up another double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, adding 4 assists as well. His wild shooting necessitated quite a few offensive rebounds, as he bricked all but 4 of his 15 shots in the game, including 5 straight misses from outside the big arc.
They played Nova Southeastern at press time but will travel to St. Leo for a 4 p.m. tipoff Saturday, returning home Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. showdown against Florida Tech.