Pat Swilling Jr. poured in 19 points, and Shaquille Harrison added 14 points to lead Tulsa, but the Golden Hurricane dropped its Conference USA contest at UCF, 83-75, Saturday afternoon at UCF Arena.
Swilling and Harrison both matched their season-high scoring totals for the Golden Hurricane, which fell to 14-13 overall and 6-7 in C-USA play. Swilling connected on five three-pointers in the contest, while Harrison also tallied five assists and four steals. James Woodard added 10 points for TU. Isaiah Sykes and Tristan Spurlock scored 22 and 19 points, respectively, to lead the Knights (18-9, 8-5 C-USA).
Tulsa led by one-point, 36-35, at halftime, but UCF held a 48-39 scoring advantage in the second half. The Hurricane shot 43 percent from the field (26-for-60), made eight three pointers, and made 15 of its 19 free throw attempts. UCF shot 42 percent from the field (22-for-52) and also made eight threes, but made 31-of-42 free throws.
On the first possession of the second half, Harrison made a layup to give the Hurricane a three-point lead. UCF, however, used a 7-0 spurt to move ahead for good, 42-38. Tulsa trailed by three points, 50-47, with 12:04 remaining, but the Knights went on a 10-0 run to lead 60-47 at the 9:49 mark.
The Hurricane kept the score in range, and finally pulled the deficit to fewer than eight points when Swilling knocked down a trey with 4:02 on the clock to cut the deficit to 72-66. TU got as close as four points, 79-75, with 0:42 left on the clock after a pair of free throws by D'Andre Wright, who scored eight points. UCF then made four of its final six free throws to win, 83-75.
UCF took its largest lead of the first half, 24-17, with 9:06 remaining. The Hurricane then went on a 10-0 run to move ahead, 27-24, with 5:06 left in the period. The Knights came back with seven straight points, and led by four, 31-27.
TU trailed by one point in the final seconds when Tim Peete got a rebound off of a missed shot and was fouled attempting a desperation heave from mid court. He made two free throws to give the Hurricane a 36-35 lead going into halftime. Peete finished the game with eight points and a team-high six rebounds.
The Golden Hurricane returns to action Saturday, March 2, when it plays host to Tulane at 3 p.m. at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.