Timely Taylor

NORMAL, Ill. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF men's basketball team snapped Illinois State's 22-game home winning streak, defeating the Redbirds 63-62 in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament Monday night at Redbird Arena.

The Knights overcame an 18-point deficit to win its 23rd game of the season and advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT. The Knights will host the winner of Boise State and Illinois Wednesday night at CFE Arena at 7 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now: ucfknights.co/NITround3

"It was great for our program to win a game like this in this environment," UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said after the game. "I was really proud of our guys' effort and give us a great opportunity to keep playing."

UCF (23-11) finally tied the game at 58-58 with 3:49 to play on a dunk by Tacko Fall, and tied it again at 60-60 with 1:40 on the clock when A.J. Davis drove the lane for two, but it wasn't until Davis converted his three-point play by knocking down the free throw that the Knights took their first lead of the game.

There was no scoring for the next 1:36. Illinois State's (28-7) MiKyle McIntosh drew a foul from B.J. Taylor and went to the line with just four second remaining. After hitting both, UCF had one final chance to pull it out.

Dawkins put the ball in the hands of his point guard. Taylor drove the sideline, forced a foul of his own and went to the line with just over one second to play.

With the Redbird faithful at its loudest, Taylor did what he did all night long. He hit both to finish the evening 11-for-11 from the charity stripe and lift the Knights to the win.

"He executed it perfectly," Dawkins said of Taylor. "We got the ball exactly where we wanted it and he stepped up and made some clutch free throws."

Taylor led UCF with 22 points and five assists. Matt Williams, who went 5-of-9 from three-point range, finished with 15 points, while Davis added 11 points and six rebounds.

Tacko Fall went scoreless and had just three rebounds in the first half, but came back to finish with eight points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

The 23 wins on the season are the third most wins in a single season in UCF's Division I history, trailing only conference champion teams in 2004 and 2005.

"It's huge for us to have a chance to play at home," Dawkins said. "Who wouldn't want to play at CFE Arena? With our environment, and our students will be back. I'm just really excited."

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