Knights Rally Back to Win Big at ECU

Box Score (PDF)

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Down 20 points early in the second half, it looked like UCF's night was all but over but the black and gold had other plans as they came all the way back to send the game to overtime and eventually overcome ECU on the road 92-85 Tuesday night in Greenville, North Carolina.

UCF moved to 11-5 overall and 3-3 in The American following the improbable comeback effort.

"I think our guys' attitudes changed after that first half," said head coach Johnny Dawkins. "I think they realized 'Hey, we're better than this and we've got to get locked in and get back to UCF Basketball,' and they did just that.

"I'm really happy to see them respond that way being down as much as we were."

The Knights couldn't find their rhythm to open play Tuesday night as they were shooting just 37.9 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from deep headed into halftime to trail the Pirates 44-28.

That luck didn't change immediately to start the second half either, as UCF fell behind as much as 20 points (48-28) before the Knights began to chip away at the lead.

Over the course of the next 18 minutes, the Knights shot 53.3 percent from the field, including 64.3 percent (9-of-14) from deep to work their way back into the game.

With the Knights down three, and with just 24 seconds left in the game, Darius Perry drained one from the top of the arc to tie it up at 72 and send it to overtime for the first time this season.

The Knights were nothing short of dominant in overtime with all the momentum in their corner. In fact, they didn't miss from the field, knocking down all four shots, including both three point tries, while hitting 10-of-16 free throws, to outscore ECU 20-13 in overtime and secure the victory.

Brandon Mahan and Perry led the charge for UCF with 19 points, with all of Mahan's coming in the second half or later. Perry also added eight assists, four steals and four boards.

Freshman Darius Johnson was also a key factor for UCF in the win, posting a career-high 16 points and four rebounds to help the Knights take down the Pirates.

"I thought, when we were down, Darius Johnson was terrific," said Dawkins. "He really steadied us. And I thought Darius Perry and Brandon Mahan were terrific down the stretch as well. Overall, it was a great team effort."

With the win, UCF extended its winning streak in the series over ECU to 13 straight, including six straight in Greenville. The Knights are now 4-3 in road games this season.

Next up, the Knights will return home to host Tulane on Saturday, Jan. 22. The game, which is scheduled to tip at 2:00 p.m. ET, will be streamed live on ESPNU.