The UCF Knights men’s basketball team came through with a victory on Thursday, defeating their conference rival, the UConn Huskies, 73-67 at home in CFE Arena.
UCF (16-4, 6-2 American Athletic Conference) was able to ride momentum from a strong first half into a win, leading Uconn nearly the whole game. The Huskies (12-9, 3-5) started to tighten the lead towards the middle of the second half, but their run was short lived.
“We’re disappointed in the loss, but you know, proud of our guys. I feel like they emptied the tank but if we played a better first half – especially a better start to the game,” said UConn Head Coach Dan Hurley to the media after the game. “This was one that I think we might have had a chance to steal.”
The Knights held UConn to 22 points in the first half, which they capped with a 3 point jump shot by guard Frank Bertz (Junior) with 33 seconds remaining to put UCF ahead 34-22.
UConn’s offense got it going in the second half, mostly due to guard Jalen Adams’ (Senior) 22 points. Guard Christian Vital (Junior) dunked the ball off an assist from Adams that looked like it could swing momentum. And 3 minutes later Adams made a layup assisted by Vital, who ended the game with 13 points. As the second half wore on, Adams’ playmaking was slowed down due to UCF’s defensive adjustments.
The Knights were able to end any hope of a comeback with 1:37 left in the game, from a 3 point shot by guard Aubrey Dawkins (Junior).
“That was a big shot for us because it killed their momentum,” said UCF guard B.J Taylor, who led the Knights in scoring with 21 points. “You know it got things back going our way.”
UCF currently sits in 3rd place in the American Athletic Conference, they face off against #13 Houston, who are at 1st place, at 2 P.M on Thursday.