UCF Bounces Back To Beat Houston In Terrific Game
UCF Knights bounces back after a tough loss against UCONN and defeated Houston by the final score of 77-70.
It was an exciting game that went back and forth throughout with both UCF and Houston making 10-0, 7-0, and 11-2 runs respectively. Both teams put their hearts out on the floor tonight and were really playing hard physical defense. There was a play in the game where there was a loose ball and about seven to eight guys were diving on the floor trying to get to the loose ball.
“I think it was just a high level game.” Coach Dawkins says. “I think both teams were playing at a high level and just really proud of our guys for bouncing back from coming off a tough lost last week, to sit out six days and to come back as sharp as they were, I was really proud of them.”
The Knights got off to a great start when Matt Williams was on fire to begin the game. He hit two straight three’s to start the game, hit a pull up jumper and then preceded to pass the ball down low to Tacko Fall and he put it in with authority to cap a 10-0 run to start the game.
“Anytime that Matt can get going early, that’s great for us offensively,” says AJ Davis. “We feed on defense, so we can get going on the offensive end and defensive end, that’s great for us. We try not to feed off of offense because we might not be hitting like that every night but anytime he can get going you got on keep going to him because I think he’s one of the best shooters in the country.”
The game was a game of runs as Houston went on a couple of runs themselves during the game and even got it to within one during the beginning of the second half, but UCF would continue fight back and got it to a point where the score was 69-59 with a little over 3:30 minutes left in the game before Houston went on another run.
The last minute of the game was owned by UCF as BJ Taylor set up the play to where he lobbed the ball to Fall who then beat the shot clock by viciously dunking the ball and subsequently breaking the side of the shot clock, getting the whole crowd to go absolute berserk. That was the finishing touches of the game.
The game also saw a back and forth matchup between Taylor and Houston’s Rob Gray. Gray, who just might be the best player in the conference, went off, as he had 28 points on 12-21 shooting, while Taylor had 20 points on 6-10 shooting while also going 7-9 from the free throw line.
However, it wasn’t just Taylor on the scoring side for the Knights as the starting five for UCF was all in double figures, as Tank Efianayi and Davis each scored 15, Fall had 11, and Williams had 10 but also had six assists as well.
“Our guys shot the ball well and I’ve always had the ultimate confidence in all my players because you can tell by the shots that they take,” says Coach Dawkins. “I believe in them, they believe in themselves and I think that’s why you saw the results tonight of guys steeping up, hitting shots that they take in practice.”
The Knights were lights out in the shooting department tonight as they shot 56.8% for the game which is easily the best of the season and includes that they went 14-23 in the second half which is just about 61%.
The one thing on the downside however is that they turned the ball over 20 times in the game, including 12 in the first half. Houston capitalized and they scored 25 points off turnovers.
“I’m starting to thing I have to use reverse psychology. I keep telling the guys don’t turn it over but maybe I should say just throw it away every time. Maybe that way our numbers will go down because what I’m saying isn’t working.” Coach Dawkins jokes. “But no we have to keep working on it. You know our personnel is such that we have to keep working on it and every team has strength and weaknesses that’s something we have to get better at and believe me, we are working on it. We’re doing a number of things to try to help but it’s a process for guys who maybe haven’t been in the situations that they’ve been in at this level, in this type of game, at this type of atmosphere, so I’m disappointed of the number of 20 turnovers I saw today but also know we have to keep working on that.”
Tonight’s win for the Knights was probably their biggest win of the season because this is one of the best teams that they have played thus far and it proves to a lot of the doubters that UCF is truly this good.
With the win, the Knights move to 13-4 (4-1 AAC), and moves to tie in second place in the conference.
Next, the Knights will have a quick turnaround and will be getting ready to play the first “War on I-4” game against USF this Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. eastern.