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Memphis aims for another lopsided win vs. UCF
The Memphis Tigers matched their best conference outing of the season on Monday, and they'll have a chance to do it again on Wednesday.
Coach Penny Hardaway's team routed American Athletic Conference foe Central Florida 96-69 behind 20 points from Landers Nolley II and a defense that pressured the visiting Knights throughout.
The two opponents meet again Wednesday in Memphis, with the Tigers looking to log another big win and take over second place in the AAC.
Monday's game originally was slated for Jan. 5 in Orlando, but a COVID-19 outbreak within UCF's program forced the game's rescheduling to Monday.
The Tigers (10-6, 6-3) made short work of the visitors, beating UCF by the same margin -- 27 points -- they beat East Carolina by on Jan. 24.
Memphis' DeAndre Williams had 15 points and five steals, and Lester Quinones added 13 points, six rebounds and six assists. Alex Lomax tied a season high with 14 points as Memphis shots 56.3 percent from the field.
Hardaway also watched his team post two season highs -- in points (96) and steals (20).
The Tigers have scored 40-plus points in a half in six of their nine AAC games, but Hardaway said his team eased up after leading 52-29 at halftime.
"We've just got to push reset," Hardaway said of playing UCF again at home. "Obviously, when you're up a lot of points, guys get very complacent, and we showed some weaknesses in the second half because we just weren't playing with the same intensity because we thought the game was over.
"We've got to get back to the energy we had in the first half."
UCF (4-8, 2-7) hopes that Round 2 in Memphis isn't the rout that Monday's encounter was.
"Our guys never quit," said coach Johnny Dawkins, whose club was outscored by just four points in the latter 20 minutes. "The game did not turn out this way because of a lack of energy -- it was more a lack of attention to detail and taking care of the basketball. We needed to be more precise with what we do."
Brandon Mahan led UCF with 15 points and Darius Perry added 13, but 28 turnovers hampered the Knights as they slipped to 1-6 on the road.
--Field Level Media