College Sports

Making History: UCF picks up first tournament win, sets up matchup with No. 1 Duke

The Central Florida football team has gotten plenty of notoriety the past two seasons.

Now, it is the Knights’ basketball program’s turn. UCF won its first Division I NCAA Tournament game in school history with a 73-58 victory over VCU on Friday night at Colonial Life Arena.

Central Florida hadn’t appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 2004 and was 0-4 all-time before Friday’s win.

The Knights advance to the second round of the East Regional and face No. 1 Duke on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. The matchup will feature Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski facing his former player Johnny Dawkins, who has helped resurrect the Knights’ hoops program.

It also will pit freshman sensation Zion Williamson against UCF 7-foot-6 senior Tacko Fall, who shined in his first tournament game. Fall had 14 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks for UCF and was a dominating force despite VCU throwing two and three guys on him at a time.

B.J. Taylor the Knights with 15 points. Aubrey Dawkins added 14 points.

The Knights looked like a team playing its first tournament game in more than a decade at the beginning. UCF went almost the first six minutes without a basket but got its stride and hit 10-of-11 shots during a stretch and led 34-24 at halftime.

UCF’s lead grew to as much as 20 points with 9:49 left before VCU made a last push. The Rams got it to within 62-55 with 4:53 left before Dawkins hit a layup and Fall capped off the 7-0 run with a falling down bank shot to make it 70-56.


Central Florida takes on Duke at 5:15 p.m. Sunday (CBS). VCU’s season is over.

Notes and numbers

Double-double: UCF’s Tacko Fall has 25 career double-doubles including seven this season.

Right touch: The Knights hit 9-of-14 3-pointers in the game but came into the game shooting 36.1 percent from 3.

Jenkins return: South Carolina native De’Riante Jenkins scored 10 points but on just 4-of-16 shooting in his first game in the Palmetto State since his junior year in high school at Lake Marion.

Postgame reaction

UCF guard B.J. Taylor: “We talked about leaving our legacy ever since coach Dawkins came here so this feels great. We will enjoy it right now but it is on to the next game.”

UCF coach Johnny Dawkins: “We have been challenging Tacko all season long about really imposing his will on the game. I think probably the last six weeks you started to see a turn in that. He gets 18 rebounds in an NCAA tournament game, that’s having a huge impact on the game and he is capable of that.”

Box score

UCF (24-8)

Smith 0-2 3-4 3, Fall 6-9 1-2 13, Taylor 5-14 3-4 15, Dawkins 6-12 1-1 14, Allen 4-8 0-0 9, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Bertz 3-5 0-0 9, DeJesus 1-1 0-0 3, Griffin 3-5 0-0 7. Totals 28-57 8-11 73.

VCU (25-8)

Santos-Silva 3-6 1-1 7, Vann 3-12 3-4 9, Mobley 1-4 1-1 3, Jenkins 4-16 0-0 10, Evans 1-7 4-5 6, Gilmore 0-0 0-0 0, C.Douglas 1-2 0-0 2, Crowfield 4-5 0-0 11, Byrd 0-0 0-0 0, Williams 1-5 5-6 7, Simms 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 19-61 14-17 58.

Halftime: UCF 34-24. 3-Point Goals: UCF 9-14 (Bertz 3-4, Taylor 2-3, DeJesus 1-1, Allen 1-1, Griffin 1-2, Dawkins 1-3), VCU 6-26 (Crowfield 3-4, Jenkins 2-9, Simms 1-3, C.Douglas 0-1, Williams 0-1, Mobley 0-2, Vann 0-3, Evans 0-3). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: UCF 39 (Fall 18), VCU 29 (Evans 6). Assists_UCF 12 (Taylor, Dawkins, Allen 3), VCU 6 (Vann, Evans 2). Total Fouls: UCF 14, VCU 16. Technicals: Smith.