The Kansas basketball team found out that playing in Orlando against UCF is indeed not "The Most Magical Place on Earth." The Jayhawks got blitzed out of the gate, fueled by the home crowd, and fell behind 7-0. KU regrouped and went on a 12-0 run of their own to go up 12-7, and all looked like it should have. Entering Big 12 play, the UCF Golden Knights were picked last and KU first in the preseason polls. None of that mattered Wednesday night.
The Jayhawks had a great stretch in the first half fueled by Johnny Furphy who had seven first-half points, including a 3-pointer and a posterizing dunk. Seemingly in control in the first half, our lead ballooned to as many as 16 points with 4 minutes left in the half. UCF closed the first half on a run, and KU went into the break up 37-29 after a Kevin McCullar jumper with 2 seconds left in the half.
The second half was as poor as the Jayhawks have looked all year. The Knights went to a zone defense that made the Jayhawks offense come to a complete halt. Throw in foul trouble from Hunter Dickinson and the offense looked out of sorts most of the second half. The Jayhawks trailed by as many as 7 points in the second half. With 3:23 left in the game, Dajuan Harris made a free throw to tie the game but missed the second free shot that would have given us the lead. KU never led again. UCF's lead went to six points and Hunter Dickinson hit a corner three to cut the deficit to three points with 17 seconds left, but the Jayhawks did not score again, falling to UCF 60-65.
Tier 1: Big Jays
1. Johnny Furphy
Johnny subbed in the game early in the first half with Elmarko Jackson struggling. Furphy came in and completely changed the momentum of the game. He had a big steal, a highlight dunk, and a big 3-pointer in the corner on his way to seven first-half points. Surprisingly, he did not get as much run in the second half when he looked like the answer on the night and moving forward. Johnny played 17 minutes and had nine points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and no turnovers. Johnny needs to be playing 25+ minutes a night. He rebounds well, is one of our better outside shooters, and competes. The more he plays, the better he will get to help this year's squad and be a leader the following year.