In the ten years UCF Basketball has called CFE Arena home, there have been some memorable moments and games. But which ones jump out over the rest?
Just Missed the Rim
2/25/09: Rice 69, UCF 66
Jermaine Taylor scored 45 points, the most by a Knight in the program’s Division I era (since 1984). The Knights lost the game despite Taylor’s memorable performance, which is only reason it does not make the top ten ranking. Check out highlights at 3:27 mark of the UCF SportsKnight TV show hosted by a guy you may be familiar with.
#10: 11/11/07 – UCF 63, Nevada 60
It was the first game at the new arena for UCF Basketball after playing from 1991-07 at the old UCF Arena, which is located directly behind the CFE Arena and is now known as the Venue where UCF Volleyball plays.
UCF opened the new building against Nevada, who was coached by Mark Fox (currently the Head Coach at Georgia) and had led Nevada to a 29-5 season and the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament the year prior. This game also marked Jermaine Taylor’s first career start as a Knight, and he scored the first ever basket at the arena.
#9: 12/31/16 – UCF 77, Temple 53
Tacko Fall and Matt Williams scored 17 points apiece as the defense dominated Temple, holding them to just 11 1st half points, which was an American Athletic Conference record. The Knights jumped all over Temple, leading 38-11 at halftime, and would coast to a dominating win on the last day of 2016. Little did we know at the time that this performance would setthe tone for the team in 2017.
Tied #8 – 2/14/09: UCF 74, Tulsa 72
Valentine’s Day 2009 will always be remembered for A.J. Rompza’s runner at the buzzer to knock off Tulsa.
Tied #8 – 2/26/11: UCF 65, Southern Miss 64
A.J. Rompza hit a deep 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds remaining, leading UCF to a 65-64 upset victory over Southern Mississippi, who was on top of C-USA going into the game. The game was attended by Michael Jordan, who came to see his son Marcus play, and Marcus did not disappoint, leading the Knights with 20 points. But the Knights trailed most of the second half until the end when Rompza pulled out the win.
#7 – 1/17/17: UCF 86, USF 64
This game is known as the Matt Williams Game, as he put on one of the greatest shooting performances in program history, hitting a school record 11 three-pointers and scoring 38 points in the Knights’ rout of the War on I-4 rival Bulls.
#6 – 1/5/11: #18 UCF 65, Marshall 58
The Knights came into the game ranked nationally for first time in Division I program history with a 13-0 record. The game was also UCF Head Coach Donnie Jones’ first meeting with his former team, Marshall. Jones was in his first season as the Knights’ Head Coach.
Marcus Jordan was the star of the game, scoring 26 points to help the Knights improve to 14-0 in front of a crowd of 9,094, which was third-most in program history at the time.
#5 – 3/15/17: UCF 79, Colorado 74 (NIT 1st Round)
B.J. Taylor scored 21 of his game-high 26 points in the second half as the Knights, hosting their first-ever NIT game, knocked off Pac-12 foe Colorado to advance to the second round.
#4 – 1/12/08: UCF 97, Tulsa 91 (3OT)
In one of the most intense and wild games ever played in that building, the Knights played in a second triple-overtime game in school history in front of a crowd of 7,097 with many staying through all three overtimes. It was the first triple-overtime game UCF had been involved in since 1977. The only reason why this game is not ranked higher is because the significance of the game was not as great compared to the next three ahead. But from a pure entertainment standpoint, it’s a game that is hard to top for anyone who was in the building that night.
#3 – 1/18/12: UCF 68, Memphis 67
Keith Clanton’s three-point play with four seconds remaining gave UCF its first ever win over Memphis in 11 meetings in front of crowd of 8,734, who would celebrate on the court after the game. Clanton led the Knights with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Will Barton, who now plays in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets, led Memphis with 24 points that night.
#2 – 2/26/17: UCF 53, #15 Cincinnati 49
UCF earned its first signature win of the Johnny Dawkins Era as the Knights defeated American AthleticConference-leading and #15-ranked Cincinnati by a score of 53-49, giving the Knights a win over a ranked team for the first time since 2011. It was the fourth time in school history that UCF knocked off a top-25 opponent, and first time at CFE Arena. While this would be Dawkins’ first signature win at UCF, it would not be his last that season.
#1 – 3/22/17: UCF 68, Illinois 58 (NIT Quarterfinal)
In front of the first-ever sold-out crowd at CFE Arena, the Knights knocked off Big 10 opponent Illinois to advance to the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden in New York.