Perhaps Alabama used up all its good luck on Sunday morning.
For whatever the reason, the No. 24 Crimson Tide (6-2) basketball team could not find much good fortune — or second-half defense — against visiting Central Florida (5-3), falling to the Knights, 65-62.
The game was tied at 62-62 after a pair of Collin Sexton free throws with 52 seconds remaining but UCF regained the lead on a Terrell Allen free throw at the 24-second mark. Allen made it to the line after an apparent charging call was reversed and ruled a foul on UA’s Herbert Jones.
UA turned the ball over on its ensuing possession and UCF’s Dayon Griffin hit a breakaway layup to build the UCF lead to 65-62. Alabama had a good look at a game-tying 3-pointer but John Petty’s attempt from the corner ticked off the rim.
“We had a wide-open look on what we think is one of the easier 3-pointers to make, from the corner,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “It just didn’t go in.”
Alabama had an 11-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half but allowed the Knights to shoot 60 percent from the floor in the second half. The Knights also made a season-high seven 3-pointers.
“Most of it was blown coverages,”said Alabama forward Riley Norris. “In the first half, they made five (3-pointers) and that was mainly due to our defense. Give them credit, they hit timely shots but at the end of the day, we had some breakdowns that need correcting.”
UCF coach Johnny Dawkins praised his team’s perseverance.
“We got down by 11 and kept competing,” Dawkins said. “We executed well in the second half. It’s stuff we’ve been working. We played with poise, moved the ball, shared it and tried to slow them down.”
Alabama junior center Donta Hall had a career night, scoring 20 points on 9-for-9 shooting. But the UCF defensive strategy held Sexton (seven points, 17 below his average) and Dazon Ingram (six points) well in check.
Allen led UCF with 16 points. Tacko Fall, the Knight’s 7-foot-6 center, played just 14 minutes due to foul trouble, scoring six points.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or 205-722-0225.