UCF edges Tulane, 84-81

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Jordan Walker

NEW ORLEANS – Sophomore Jaylen Forbes poured in a career-high 30 points and redshirt junior Jordan Walker tallied his first career double-double, but the Tulane men’s basketball team suffered an 84-81 home defeat to UCF in American Athletic Conference play Saturday afternoon at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.

Forbes shot 8-of-13 overall, including 5-of-8 beyond the 3-point arc and 9-of-11 at the free throw line to complement a career-high five steals. Walker scored 18 points, made four treys and handed out a career-high 10 assists, while freshman Sion James and junior Gabe Watson added 13 points apiece.

Tulane (9-9, 4-9 AAC) outscored UCF (8-11, 6-10 AAC), 30-22, in the paint, 14-6 on second chances, 13-2 on fast breaks and 17-15 off turnovers.

The Knights owned a 34-0 advantage in bench scoring and made 14-of-26 (.538) shots beyond the arc while going 14-of-16 (.875) at the foul line.

The Green Wave scored the first eight points of the game which featured a pair of highlight dunks by Kevin Cross and James, as the Knights called timeout after the first six points of the run with 17:06 to go in the first half.

Tulane opened up an 18-7 lead on Forbes’ first 3-pointer which also accounted for Walker’s sixth assist on the team’s seventh made basket at the 12:13 mark. Forbes drained his second triple one minute later to keep the advantage in double-digits, 21-10, but UCF roared back with 12 straight points to take its first lead, 22-21, with 7:04 left.

The first half would feature 10 lead changes with the last coming on a Walker trey with 28 seconds to go to put the Green Wave in front, 37-36, heading into halftime.

Neither team pulled ahead by more than five points early in the second half, as Forbes netted a 3-pointer with 14:54 remaining to give the Green Wave a 53-48 edge. UCF punched back with a 23-7 run, which included a streak of 14 straight points, over the next seven minutes to build its largest lead of the game, 71-60, with 7:51 to go.

Tulane chipped away down the stretch and pulled within three, 77-74, on a Watson floater with 47 seconds remaining, as the Wave called their final timeout.

The Green Wave got as close as two, 83-81, on a fast break 3 – Forbes’ fifth of the game – with two seconds left but was forced to foul on the inbounds. The Knights made one of two free throws but left the Wave no time to get it back down the court for a last-second shot.

Tulane finished the day shooting 29-of-57 (.509) overall, 11-of-24 (.458) from 3-point range and 12-of-21 (.571) at the foul stripe. The Knights shot 28-of-51 (.549) from the field in the game, including 14-of-23 (.609) in the second half and 8-of-13 (.615) from deep in the final 20 minutes.

Isaiah Adams scored a career-high 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting, while Darius Perry made six 3s to finish with 20 points over seven assists. Darin Green Jr. and C.J. Walker added 14 points apiece.

Up next, Tulane plays at Memphis on Wednesday, February 24. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., at FedEx Forum and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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