Knights Defeat Tulsa In Triple-Overtime Thriller


Jan. 12, 2008

Box Score | Notes

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Playing the inaugural Conference USA game inside the new UCF Arena, the UCF men's basketball team held on for a thrilling 97-91 triple-overtime victory over Tulsa on Saturday. Junior Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) totaled seven of his 28 points in the final extra session, including a pair of 3-pointers, to lift the Knights (9-7, 2-0 C-USA) to the win.

The contest was played in front of a UCF-record 7,097 fans. Saturday's game was the first triple overtime contest for UCF since 1977.

Senior Chip Cartwright's (Houston, Texas/Phillis Wheatley) two free-throws early in the deciding third OT put the Knights ahead for good. Cartwright had a career-high 15 points with five assists, becoming one of four Knights who scored in double-figures.

Senior Stanley Billings (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge) set career-highs with 17 points and eight boards. Also pacing the Knights was senior Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) who chipped in 18 points. O'Donnell's two free with seven seconds left of the second overtime enabled UCF to stretch the game into a third extra session.

"That is what college basketball is all about. It was a special game... a special atmosphere," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "I am proud of our guys and the effort and composure we had tonight. I am proud of our fans that were into it and lively."

After falling to an 11-2 deficit early in the first half, the Knights went on a 10-2 run to come within one point of Tulsa (8-5, 0-1). Moments later, Cartwright converted a traditional three-point play to give UCF its first lead of the game at the 9:42 mark. The Knights increased their advantage to eight following a pair of treys from O'Donnell and one from Taylor.

UCF finished the half on an 8-0 run to head into the locker room leading, 40-25.

Trailing by 15 points in the second half, the Golden Hurricane kept it interesting with a 23-9 run to come within one point, 63-62. Tulsa then took a 67-65 lead, its first in the second half, on a Brett McDade 3-pointer with just over two minutes remaining in the game. UCF senior Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) knotted the game at 67 with a pair of free throws at the 1:21 mark, ultimately sending the game into the first overtime.

UCF trailed by two with 1:03 remaining in the first extra session, but tied the game at 78 on a Taylor lay-up with 34 ticks left. Taylor's jumper at the buzzer, however, rimmed out to send the game into a second overtime. In the second overtime, a 3-pointer by Tulsa's Ben Uzoh and pair of free-throws from McDade put the Golden Hurricane up by five with 32 seconds on the clock. Following a timeout, O'Donnell hit a trey on UCF's next possession. On the ensuing inbound, the Knights defense forced a jump ball and regained control, setting up O'Donnell's two free-throws and the third overtime.

Jerome Jordan (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Calvin Walls (15 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for Tulsa. Uzoh paced the Golden Hurricane with 25 points.

UCF's next contest is slated for Saturday, Jan. 19, at East Carolina.

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