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UCF Wins First NIT Game

The University of Central Florida grabbed their first win in the National Invitation Tournament(NIT) in program history after defeating Colorado University 79-74 yesterday in the CFE Arena in Orlando, Florida. The UCF Knights(22-11) will take on the top-seeded Illinois State Redbirds(28-6) on Monday, March 20th with hopes of continuing their run in the tournament.

Game Recap

Central Florida came out shooting in the first half as A.J. Davis and Matt Williams scored 4 out of 6 three-pointers in the first half. UCF’s B.J. Taylor picked up an eye injury in the first half of the game. Here’s what A.J. Davis said about the situation and how they coped with the injury:

The second half was much more defensive for the Knights after leading the Buffalo 73-59 late in the game. Colorado then put on the pressure by going on a 15 to 4 point run in a span of a minute and a half. With only 14 seconds left, the score became 77-73 following D. White’s three pointer.

In the dying moments, birthday boy A.J. Davis grabbed an extremely clutch defensive rebound and drew a foul in the process.

Davis knocked in both free throws, sealing the game for the Knights. UCF coach Johnny Dawkins had this to say about the birthday boy: “What a day. A.J. saved one of his best games of the season for the postseason. He had a great game today and not because of the points he scored. I thought it was his best all-around game.”

Key Players

  • Central Florida
    • B.J. Taylor, Guard
      • 7/13 Field Goals, 4 assists, 26 Points
    • A.J Davis, Forward
      • 5/9 Field Goals, 8 Rebounds, 17 Points
  • Colorado
    • D. White, Guard
      • 6 Assists, 5/5 Free Throws, 30 Points

Whats Next for UCF

The University of Central Florida Knights aim to continue their first run in the NIT when they take on Illinois State. The number 1 ranked Redbirds have proven they will be a tough team to beat following their 28-6 record this season. They defeated the 8th seeded UC Irvine yesterday 85-71, and forward Deontae Hawkins recorded 22 points and 5 rebounds. Illinois State shot 52 percent from the field and from behind the three-point line. Compared to UCF’s 54 percent from the field and from behind the three-point line, it is obvious that the Knights three-point game will be key in their next game. If UCF can manage to outshoot the Redbirds, and shut down Deontae Hawkins in the paint, they can defeat number one seed Illinois State. Catch the game on ESPN at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 20th.

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