(M) Basketball

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Taylor Time
January 20, 2018
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TAMPA (UCFKnights.com) - All-Conference point guard B.J. Taylor led a short-handed UCF men's basketball team to a gutsy 71-69 road victory over rival USF with 25 points in just his second game back from a broken foot.

Without starters Tacko Fall (shoulder) and A.J. Davis (ankle), Taylor took it upon himself to rally the Knights in the second half, overcoming a seven-point deficit at the break, and come away with the victory.

"With the injuries, we needed guys to step up and be a little bit better, and I think everyone was," UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said after the game.

Taylor 16 of his 25 points in the second half, going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 10-of-11 from the free throw line.

"Every time we've come to this building it's always been a fight. It's always been a war, so you have to give a lot of credit to them," Taylor said after the game. "We picked up our intensity. We weathered the storm. It showed more maturity from us tonight."

With the Knights (13-6, 4-3) trailing by five points with less than seven minutes to play, Taylor, who missed 16 games before returning to the court this week against No. 11 Cincinnati, took his game to another level.

The Orlando native connected on a floater in the lane and knocked down a three in back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 56-56. After the Bulls (7-13, 0-7) regained the lead at 59-58, it was again Taylor who stepped up. The point guard drove the lane, scored, got fouled, and hit the free throw.

He wasn't done yet though. After a steal by Terrell Allen, Taylor hit another three to put the Knights up five. He capped the nearly All-Taylor 16-3 run with a pinpoint alley oop pass to Chad Brown, who finished through the foul and completed the three-point play to give UCF a 66-59 lead with 1:11 to play.

From there, the Knights just held on, as the Bulls continued to fight back possession after possession, leaving Tampa with the 71-69 victory.

UCF, which has struggled offensively for much of the season, showed plenty of promise in the second half, shooting a blistering 69.6 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes. The Knights hit all four of their threes in the second frame, finishing 53.1 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Chad Brown, who stepped into the starting lineup for Fall, finished with the second double-double of his career. The junior went 6-of-8 from the floor to match a career high 13 points, and tied his career-best with 10 rebounds, six of which were on the offensive glass.

"He was terrific," Dawkins said of Brown. "He did a great job for us, defensively. It was probably one of his most active games on both ends."

UCF will next make its first ever trip to Wichita, Kansas. The Knights take on the Shockers Jan. 25 on ESPN2.

Season tickets for the 2017-18 campaign are on sale now. Fans looking to purchase tickets can call (407) 823-1000 or visit UCFKnights.com to secure them today. For men's basketball tickets CLICK HERE.

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