ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – B.J. Taylor scored 29 points to lead the UCF men’s basketball team, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a late FAU run Sunday afternoon, as the Owls defeated the Knights by a score of 80-79 at CFE Arena.
“Give them all the credit, I thought they came in and played with passion and desire for 40 minutes,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said. “I think their players made a lot of good plays down the stretch.”
UCF (1-1) scored the first 12 points of the game, holding FAU (2-0) scoreless for the first six minutes and 43 seconds of the contest. The Knights extended their advantage to 26-6 midway through the half, but FAU fought its way back and cut the UCF advantage to just six points at the break, 37-31.
Aubrey Dawkins led the Knights to the early lead, scoring 12 of his 16 total points in the first 20 minutes of action. UCF held the Owls to just 30 percent shooting from the floor in the half, but that story changed after the break.
UCF increased its lead to as many as 11 points early in the second half, but FAU eventually tied things up as part of an 18-6 run that gave the Owls a 53-51 lead, their first of the game.
Taylor then turned it on, scoring seven straight points himself to get UCF back in front. A three-pointer by Ceasar DeJesus and a dunk on the break by Dawkins put the Knights back up by 11, at 66-55, with 9:03 to play in the game.
Threes on three of FAU’s next four baskets over two and a half minutes, holding UCF scoreless during the frame, gave the Owls the lead once again.
The two teams traded the lead back-and-forth in the final three minutes of play. Taylor scored one more time, finishing at the rim to give the Knights a 79-78 lead with seven seconds remaining, but it was FAU that came out on top.
After a missed attempt outside the lane, the putback was good with less than a second remaining to give the Owls the 80-79 victory.
Taylor’s 29 points were just four shy of his career high. The senior went 9-of-14 from the field and 10-of-12 from the free throw line. Dawkins added 16 on 6-of-16 from the field, adding five rebounds.
No other Knight finished in double figures. Tacko Fall had nine points and led UCF with seven rebounds. Terrell Allen had eight points and five assists.
FAU outrebounded UCF 40-38 and had 17 offensive rebounds in the game.
“Between the offensive boards and the loose balls, that is what created a number of possessions for them and they made them count,” Dawkins said. “Give them credit and their coach for a very good game.”
UCF returns to action at the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The Knights start with Cal State Fullerton on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
TICKETS FOR 2018-19
Fans can purchase tickets for the 2018-19 UCF men's basketball season by calling (407) 823-1000 or online here: https://ucfknights.co/mbb1819tix.