Shaheed Davis’ athletic, oh-my-God-I-hope-I-don’t-commit-an-offensive-goaltend tip-in with three seconds left on the clock gave UCF a big home win over UMass on Tuesday night, 67-63. Despite blowing a 12-point halftime lead, the win pushed the Knights over .500 for the first time this year at 4-3.
More importantly, the emotional victory may serve as a springboard for this young team going into conference play in a few weeks.
Here’s a breakdown:
Three in the Key
1. Still No B.J. Taylor
Seven games in, it still looks like this team is missing the fifth gear. Credit is due to Daiquan Walker for filling in (10 points and 4 assists in 26 minutes), but the offense still looks clunky right now without B.J.
2. Blown Leads Kill
But the Knights got away with it. UCF was up 12 at the half, but gave it all back in the first ten minutes of the second half. It was the combination of Walker and Shaheed Davis who stopped the bleeding, culminating in Davis’ tip-in of Walker’s miss in the final seconds for the winning bucket.
3. Not on the stat sheet
On the critical defensive inbound play, Tacko Fall and his 7’6″ frame guarded the inbounder. When C.J. Anderson ran the baseline, Tacko ran with him, and his lateral speed and long arms without question disrupted Anderson’s plan. He stepped over the baseline, and the Knights got the critical turnover that effectively sealed the game.
Side note: I bet Rick Pitino wished he had a 7-6 guy to guard the inbounds in 1992.
Knight of the Night
A.J. Davis. He led UCF with 14 points (8 in the second half) and five boards, and keyed a 10-2 run in the final five minutes.
The Big Number
Rebounds: UCF 44, UMass 32. Donnie Jones’ recruiting plan is working. UCF has turned around the rebounding this year. The game-winning basket came off an offensive rebound.
Who’s Got Next?
UCF heads to the Motor City to play the Titans of Detroit Mercy Saturday, December 19th at 1 p.m. The game will be on ESPN3.