The UCF Knights (5-2) came oh-so-close to coming back from a 13-point deficit in the second half against the Miami Hurricanes (7-1), but a missed free throw by C.J. Walker and a replay review on a ball that landed out of bounds in the game’s final 1.4 seconds went against the Knights in their 66-64 loss at Addition Financial Arena.
But there were some positives, which we break down in our three points from the game:
1. Darius Johnson Is Back
After making his season debut in Wednesday’s win over Evansville, Darius Johnson was fantastic against the Canes, scoring 22 of his career-high 24 points in the second half in leading the Knights’ comeback from 13 down in the second half. At one point he scored 15 in a row.
It’s really exciting to see Johnson moving forward as he looks like a better player than last year, and could be a possible closer for the offense.
2. The End of the 1st Half and Start of the 2nd Half Cost the Knights
While the focus will be on how the game ended, UCF did not close well at the end of the first, and that was more of the cause for the loss, as the Knights allowed the Hurricanes to finish the half on an 8-2 run to take a lead at halftime.
Miami carried the momentum into the second half, outscoring UCF 15-8 to go up 13. That proved too much to overcome.
3. That was a Quality NCAA Tournament Team UCF Played to the Wire
The Knights went toe-to-toe for 40 physical minutes and nearly to overtime against a Miami team that will likely be in the NCAA Tournament this year, after making the Elite 8 last season.
With Johnson now back, we can see what the potential of this team is, which may be the postseason if they can gel now that they are getting healthy.