Taylor Leads UCF to Another Miraculous Comeback Win


March 7, 2009

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.) scored 27 of his game-high 36 points after intermission to help the UCF men's basketball team overcome a 17-point deficit and post a 74-71 win over East Carolina Saturday at the UCF Arena. The contest served as the regular-season finale for the Knights (17-13, 7-9 Conference USA).

With the Pirates (13-16, 5-11) leading by two points, Taylor completed a traditional 3-point play to put UCF up 72-71 with 29 seconds to play. On East Carolina's next possession, Sam Hinnant drove to the basket, but was whistled for an offensive foul when senior center Kenrick Zondervan (Hoofddorp, Holland) stepped in to take the charge.

East Carolina led by 17 points with 18:17 to play in the second half. Taylor connected on four 3-pointers after intermission as UCF outscored the Pirates 51-34 after the break.

"It was a tough, hard-fought game. There were a lot of things not going our way," UCF head coach Kirk Speraw said. "Somehow we dug deep, reached down and scrapped and clawed our way in the second half. We had some individuals step up and make some plays and make some things (happen) defensively. I am very proud of our effort in the second half. I am very proud of our seniors... they willed it. They didn't want to lose."

Up next for the Knights is the C-USA Championship, which begins Wednesday in Memphis, Tenn.

After the Pirates went up 41-24 early in the second half, Taylor totaled 19 points during a 38-17 run. His triple at the 6:27 mark gave the hosts a 59-58 edge. The lead grew to seven when Zondervan, who finished with 15 points, scored inside at the 4:04 mark.

East Carolina then responded with a 9-0 run and the Pirates took a two-point lead with 44 seconds to go when Jamar Abrams connected on two free throws. After Hinnant's charge, sophomore guard Taylor Young (Orlando, Fla.) knocked down a pair of foul shots for the Knights. East Carolina's desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.

The Pirates shot 51.0 percent overall and 45.5 percent from deep for the game.

Hinnant connected on four 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes to help the Pirates lead 37-23 at halftime. East Carolina shot 55.6 percent from the field in the first half.

Playing in his final home game, Taylor logged 38 minutes and also grabbed eight rebounds for the Knights. Zondervan also totaled eight rebounds.

UCF shot 53.1 percent in the second half and 38.8 percent for the game.

Hinnant finished with 22 points for the Pirates.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.