The story of the night at Moody Center was a struggling Texas basketball team blew a rather large lead and ultimately lost to a scrappy, determined Central Florida team. The other story of the evening was head coach Rodney Terry’s response to several of the Knights’ players throwing the Horns down gesture as the teams lined up to to shake hands, postgame.
Texas got off to a hot start and led by as many as 16 points just eight minutes into the game. UCF cut the lead to 6 points but not before the Longhorns charged back to take a 44-32 lead into the locker room at the half.
Terry’s team looked to be in control for most of the second half, leading by 10 points at the 11:31 mark. Then things turned on a dime…. UCF went on a 12-3 run to take a 63-62 lead with 7:21 remaining. Texas only managed a three pointer courtesy of Tyrese Hunter during that span and turned the ball over three times. The lead then changed three times over the next four minutes, but the Knights came out holding the lead with 2:51 on the game clock and never relinquished it. Poor shooting coupled with turnovers by Dylan Disu and Dillon Mitchell doomed the ‘Horns down the stretch.
Guard Ithiel Horton was in the starting lineup and the move benefitted the Longhorns. Horton finished the night with a season-high 20 points along with three rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes played. Guard Max Abmas and Forward Dillon Mitchell each had 15 points in the only the team’s third overall loss at Moody Center since its doors opened at the beginning of last season.
The Knights shot 50.9% froom the floor including 30.4% from beyond the arc. Texas shot 50% from the floor and 38.5% from three-point range. UCF outrebounded the Longhorns 37-22 and made 80% of their free throws compared to Texas’ 58.3%.
Rodney Terry reacts to UCF Players Postgame
Rodney Terry wasn’t happy with what he saw from UCF players as the teams lined up to shake hands at the conclusion of the game in which UCF won 77-71 and didn’t hold back.
Terry was visibly upset that several of the Knights’ players made the Horns down gesture.
He explained the intent behind his comments that were directed towards UCF players in his postgame press conference.
“You know I’m a big believer in you win the right way, you lose the right way. I always tell my guys, you know, whether you win or lose, you win the right way, you lose the right way, you carry yourself the right way. You don’t go through the handshake line, I’m proud of getting to the handshake line and have about six or seven guys putting the Horns down. We don’t do that, you know, because when you do those kind of things it looks very classless. And it also looks like you were just hoping to win. We never go into games trying to hope to win, we go into games expecting to win, so we don’t act like that. We expect to win and we don’t jump up and down like we won a national championship. We sure don’t step on anyone’s home court deal and act crazy, try to show them up in any way. We don’t do that. You know, so that’s what I was angry about and I was letting those guys know you don’t do that. You know, you guys won, hey we’ll shake your hand, tip our hat to you but we’re not going to let you act that way in our building. You’re not going to do that. You’re not going to put your Horns down and do all that nonsense.”
Texas fell to 12-5, 1-3 Big 12 following the loss and welcomes No. 9 Baylor to Austin on Saturday.