UCF Falls at Tulsa; Recieves First-Round C-USA Bye

GO KNIGHTS Dave Noel and the Knights finished fourth in the Conference USA standings.
Dave Noel and the Knights finished fourth in the Conference USA standings.

March 8, 2008

Box Score |  Notes

TULSA, Okla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Playing its final regular-season game, the UCF men's basketball team fell 71-53 at Tulsa on Saturday evening at Reynolds Coliseum. The Knights (16-14, 9-7 Conference USA) finished fourth in the C-USA regular season and have earned a first-round bye at the league championship.

UCF will face Southern Miss or Rice in the C-USA Championship quarterfinals on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. EST, at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.

On Saturday, the Golden Hurricane (17-12, 8-8) led by two points with 7:41 to play in the game after UCF senior guard Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) scored for the Knights. Following Noel's basket, Tulsa's Brett McDade hit back-to-back 3-pointers, sparking a 13-0 run that allowed the hosts to pull away.

Tulsa shot 66.7 percent after intermission and outscored UCF 49-32 in the final stanza.

Noel paced the Knights with 17 points.

"I am really proud of our guys. It got away from us late. I am really proud of our defense and how we battled," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "Our guys were battling and fighting hard. We have a couple of days to get comfortable and get ready for the tournament."

The teams combined for 19 turnovers in the opening half. Tulsa led by six points with 2:33 to play when Rod Earls hit a jumper, but the Knights then closed the first half with a 5-0 run. Noel started the run with a free throw. Senior guard Chip Cartwright (Houston, Texas/Phillis Wheatley) cut the lead to three with a layup at the 2:01 mark.

Noel cut Tulsa's advantage to 22-21 at the break when he found junior Kenrick Zondervan (Hoffdorp, Holland) for an alley-oop with 1:19 to go.

UCF shot just 36.0 percent overall in the first half, with the Golden Hurricane making 33.3 of their attempts from the floor.



Noel hit three triples for the Knights and junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) chipped in with 12 points and six boards.

Ben Uzoh paced Tulsa with 15 points and McDade added 13 points in the win. Tulsa finished with a 40-31 edge on the glass.

UCF's quarterfinal game at the C-USA Championship on Thursday will be televised live regionally on CSS.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel, log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out www.ucfphotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.