ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – Avenging a road loss earlier in the season, the UCF men’s basketball team took care of business at home, earning a 79-72 victory over visiting Memphis Saturday evening at CFE Arena.
“There’s a desperation,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said after the game. “Everyone’s playing with so much on the line. Everybody’s competing. Everybody’s fighting and clawing, and that’s what you expect. I’m excited that our guys were able to overcome.”
The Knights (19-5, 9-3) led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but the Tigers (15-11, 7-6) cut UCF’s deficit to just one point, at 69-68 with 2:01 left to play in the game.
After a 30-second timeout by Coach Dawkins, the Knights worked the ball around the perimeter and found Aubrey Dawkins open on the wing. The junior guard, who scored just two points in the first half, knocked it down with confidence, scoring three of his 15 second-half points.
That triple ignited an 8-0 run down the stretch to clinch it. BJ Taylor hit 6-of-7 from the stripe down the stretch to lead the Knights to the win.
Taylor led the way the entire night, finishing with a team-high 25 points, shooting 3-of-6 from three-point range and 12-of-14 from the line. The Orlando native added five assists, five rebounds and one steal in the victory.
“How good was BJ?” Dawkins asked the media following the game. “I thought he was terrific. I’ve coached him for the last three years and I think that was one of his best overall games. I’m really, really proud of what he did.”
It marked the guard’s ninth 20-point game of the season and his third in the last five games. It was Taylor’s third highest point total of the year.
Dawkins scored 17 even after missing a couple of thunderous dunk attempts. With UCF’s all-time leading three-point shooter Matt Williams in attendance, Dawkins went 3-of-5 from deep and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the line.
In fact, the entire team was on its game from the stripe, ending the night 25-of-30. Even Tacko Fall, who came in shooting just 32.5 percent from the line, went 5-of-7 to help the Knights get every point they could.
Fall scored 15 points with seven rebounds. Terrell Allen also finished in double figures, scoring 10 points to go with six rebounds and three assists. Chad Brown led UCF with eight rebounds and a season-high four blocked shots.
“Terrell did a great job of handling their pressure all night long and leading us,” Dawkins said of Allen. “I thought he was terrific.”
Jeremiah Martin led Memphis with 25 points, while Kareem Brewton added 14 points and seven rebounds in the defeat.
UCF has now matched its overall and conference win totals from last season, standing at 19-5 overall and 9-3 in league play. The Knights remain in third place in The American with a critical road game up next.
UCF plays at second place Cincinnati on Thursday. The Knights and the Bearcats are scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 on Feb. 21.
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.