PREVIEW: Houston Cougars basketball looks to bounce back against UCF

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock (13730726f) Houston’s J’Wan Roberts (13) charges into Temple’s Nick Jourdain (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Houston Temple Basketball, Houston, United States – 22 Jan 2023

PREVIEW: Houston Cougars basketball looks to bounce back against UCF

The Houston Cougars basketball team is traveling to Orlando, Florida, for a matchup with the Central Florida Knights on Wednesday evening.

No. 3 Houston (18-2, 6-1 American Athletic) is coming off its first conference loss of the season against Temple. UCF (13-6, 4-3 AAC) enters the game losers of two straight and are wounded as well.

UCF senior forward C.J. Walker is out for the remainder of the season with a leg injury, and in the Knights’ last game against South Florida, they were without senior forward Michael Durr and sophomore guard Darius Johnson.

Johnson led UCF in scoring in the last meeting against Houston. He put up 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had four steals in the Dec. 31 meeting inside Fertitta Center.

The Knights played nine players in their first meeting against the Cougars, however, all five starters played 33 or more minutes. Freshman forward Taylor Hendricks scored 14 points and had five rebounds. Freshman forward Ithiel Horton added had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Houston was led by redshirt sophomore guard Tramon Mark in the previous meeting against UCF. He had 19 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Marcus Sasser had 18 points, and junior forward J’Wan Roberts chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds.

For the Cougars, the lesson coming off the last game against UCF, as well as the loss to Temple, is adapting, Roberts said on Monday.

“I think it is going to be different playing them a second time,” Roberts stated. “We learned from that last game, and you know the best thing to do is adjust. It’s just always about getting better. We are not getting any worse. We just want to improve as a team.”

Houston cannot allow the loss to Temple to snowball into bigger issues, he added.

“Even though we lost at home, it is not really something to dwell on cause it is not going to be something that defines our season,” Roberts said.

Houston’s game against UCF will be the team’s sixth road game of the season. The Cougars are 5-0 as visitors this season. Wednesday’s game will stream live on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. CT and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM radio.

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