The stage couldn’t have been bigger for Johnny Dawkins and his team. The Knights were challenged with a road game against the #8 team in the country in a sold out arena with College GameDay in the house. One of the biggest complaints about Coach Dawkins has been his inability to win the big game and he was able to silence the doubters tonight.
The Knights walked away with a 69-64 victory despite being down 5 at the half. This will go down as UCF’s biggest victory in school history partially because there was so much on the line. UCF is playing for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. This win against the Cougars pretty much punches their ticket to the big dance.
Well, any doubt about @UCF_MBB getting in are now over after beating @UHCougarMBK. The Knights are going to be in the field. And the rest of the country will get to see Tacko Fall on the brightest stage.— Andy Katz (@TheAndyKatz) March 2, 2019
Collin Smith scored 21 points, Tacko Fall had 13 points and 10 rebounds.and the Knights outscored the Cougars 41-31 in the second half as @UCF_MBB went on the road to defeat #8 Houston 69-64 Saturday afternoon in #AmericanHoops play. pic.twitter.com/IeWZKrpSAF— American MBB (@American_MBB) March 3, 2019
Three in the Key
1. Knight of the Night
On a night where B.J. Taylor and Aubrey Dawkins didn’t put up their normal numbers, Collin Smith really stepped up and had the best game of his short UCF career. His 21 points were a season-high for the 6’11” sophomore forward. He led the team in shots made, shots taken and total points on the night.
2. When It Matters Most
Aubrey Dawkins may not have had his best night statistically but he really stepped up down the stretch and helped seal this victory for the Knights. His three point jumper with 1:38 left in the game gave them the lead back after Houston’s eight point run. That was huge in killing their momentum. Making both of his free throws to put UCF up 63-60 was huge as well.
3. Sixth Man of the Game
Dayon Griffin has really played an important roll for UCF in their last two games. He only saw 15 minutes of action in tonight’s game against Houston but he made two late free throws to help put the game out of reach. He also had a few big shots early in the game to keep things at bay in the first the half. Him heating up late in the season is a good sign for this team who will need depth if they’re going to make a run in the tournament.
Who’s Got Next?
UCF welcomes #23 Cincinnati to CFE Arena this Thursday, March 7th at 7:00pm. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN2. This will be UCF’s last home game of the season and Senior Knight so everyone is hoping for a packed arena for the first time this season.