The University of Central Florida Men’s Basketball team defeated the Bull in Tampa Thursday night to earn three points in The War on I-4 and their 20th win of the season.
“It’s what we expected,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said, closing his regular season debut. “It’s a rivalry game. Throw the records out the window because you know both teams are going to compete, and they did. That’s how it should be.”
UCF came off of a historic 53-49 victory against No. 15 Cincinnati Sunday afternoon. It was the fourth time in program history a win against a ranked opponent would be claimed.
On Thursday, USF fought like a bull and held on to UCF neck-and-neck through the game’s end. The Bulls either led the game or allowed a tie until one minute and thirty seconds remained on the clock.
Senior Matt Williams and sophomore B.J. Taylor, a dynamic duo against Cincinnati, Memphis, and many other games this season broke USF’s grip and pulled ahead in the final minutes.
With under three minutes to play and a 56-51 lead by the Bulls, Williams sank his third three of the night to reign in the score within two points. Taylor came up from behind and sank another shot beyond the arc to give the Knights the lead with just over two minutes on the clock.
UCF held on for the remainder of regulation, with one more score to add, winning a battle in The War on I-4.
“That’s what a season should be about. It should be learning how to win,” Dawkins said. “When you talk about facing adversity and figuring out how to win, you need to learn how to do that.”
“There’s no shortcut. There’s no magic potion. You have to figure it out on that floor and our guys have found a way to do that.”
In his senior year, Matt Williams emphatically said playing for UCF was the best decision of his life.
On Thursday, Williams’ third three of the night to give UCF the lead marked his named into the record books.
For the 104th three-pointer of the season and 252nd of his career, Williams broke the season record and career record at UCF. The record surpassed Gary Johnson (103, 2004-05) and Jermaine Taylor (251, 2005-09).
“It just comes from hard work and motivation from my coaches and my teammates,” said Williams to Knights basketball. “Without the confidence that my teammates have in my to keep feeding me the ball, [I would have these records.]”
Tacko Fall’s performance earned the center the single-season record with his 75th block of the season. John Friday held the record since for thirty years, 1986-87 season, with 75 blocks.
Next for your UCF Knights is the Frontier Communications American Athletic Conference Championship in Hartford, Conn. The Knights will take a first round bye following Thursday’s victory and move straight to the quarterfinals on Friday.
Photo courtesy of UCF Athletics Communications.