Men's Hoops Beaten 87-73 by No. 20/21 BYU in Big 12 Conference Championship Second Round

by Ken Landis

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UCF men’s basketball team’s run in its first Big 12 Conference Championship came to an end in the second round at the hands of No. 20/21 BYU by a final of 87-73. The Knight surrendered a 14-0 start to begin the game and allowed a season-high 14 three-pointers against.

“I think BYU played a really good game, they started off hot, really shot the three-ball well to start off in the first half. Something they’ve done really well all season long. We were trying to contain those threes, but give them credit, they were able to find openings and more importantly, knock down shots, even under pressure.”

Johnny Dawkins

UCF Men's Basketball Head Coach

BYU got out to a roaring start, putting up the first 14 points of the game via four triples and a pair of free throws via a flagrant foul, all in the first 3:36 of play. UCF was held scoreless during that time and went on to miss but got on the board at the 15:32 mark with a tough Jaylin Sellers layup plus a foul. Sellers was able to rip the rock away from a near jump ball situation to drive to the hoop and lay it in.

The Cougars followed the Sellers basket with a 7-0 run, making it 21-3. A three-pointer from Sellers and a toss in from Antwann Jones got the Knights rolling on offense. A BYU free throw made it 22-8. That’s all the scoring there was until the halfway point of the half.

The scoring picked up in the final 10 minutes of the first half, but UCF wasn’t able to cut into the deficit until late in the frame. BYU buried a total of seven three-pointers in the first and shot 48% from the floor to UCF’s 36%. Down 38-23, UCF made six of its final eight shots to end the first half, paired with BYU missing four of its final six attempts to draw back within nine at 47-38 at halftime.

BYU opened with a three to go up 12, but UCF responded with back-to-back buckets from C.J. Walker, a three-pointer and a layup through traffic, brought the deficit down to seven. The BYU lead expanded back to 11, but the Knights didn’t quit. UCF put together a 10-2 run, topped off with a pair of Darius Johnson triples from the corner to make it a one possession ballgame at 59-56 with 13:38 to play.

The Cougars got to the free throw line, adding three points on two trips. Two layups and a three-pointer re-extended the lead to double digits, thanks to the 10-0 run. Out of the media timeout, a common foul called on BYU turned into a UCF flagrant, resulting in two more made free throws for the Cougars to balloon the lead back to 15 at 71-56 with 9:55 to play. Another Johnson triple, his fifth of the game, cut it back to a dozen, but was answered on the other end with a BYU three-pointer. Again, the two sides traded triples, making it 77-62 with 5:55 remaining.

The Knights kept swinging, as Johnson converted an and-one opportunity, but it was again answered with a BYU three-ball. Walker again took it to the rim, followed by Allen going one-of-two from the line to bring it back to 12.  After a set of three missed UCF free throws, BYU went the other way and scored another two points, putting the margin back to 14 with 3:28 to play. The Knights were unable to generate any run to cut into the deficit, with the score ending at 87-73.

Johnson posted his second 30+ point game over the last three contests, scoring 32 points and setting a career-high for three-pointers made with six. Sellers and Jones joined Johnson with double digit points, scoring 12 and 13, respectively.

UCF only turned the ball over seven times in the contest and forced 10 BYU turnovers. The Knights generated 16 points off those Cougar turnovers while BYU got just six in that category. Both teams shot north of 40% from the three-point line with BYU going 14-for-30 and UCF shooting 9-for-22. The Cougars finished the afternoon shooting 47% from the field.

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