Knights Advance in NIT, Host Illinois Wednesday at CFE Arena

Knights Advance in NIT, Host Illinois Wednesday at CFE Arena

The UCF men’s basketball team will host the University of Illinois at the CFE Arena on Wednesday in the National Invitational Tournament after advancing Monday night with a 63-62 win over Illinois State.

The Knights overcame an 18-point deficit on the road to stay alive in the tournament. The winner of Wednesday’s 7 p.m. game at UCF will advance to the quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Tickets are on sale now at ucfknights.co/NITround3.

Tickets for faculty and staff are available starting at $12 and can be purchased by pasting this link into your browser: http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/1278286?brand=ucf.

The first 200 UCF students at the CFE Arena box office 9 a.m. Wednesday will receive free tickets. After the free-ticket allotment is gone, students can purchase tickets for $4.

“It was great for our program to win a game like this in this environment,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said. “I was really proud of our guys’ effort and give us a great opportunity to keep playing.”

UCF (23-11) tied the game at 58-58 with 3:49 to play on a dunk by Tacko Fall, and tied it again at 60-60 with 1:40 on the clock when A.J. Davis drove the lane for 2, but it wasn’t until Davis converted his three-point play by knocking down a free throw that the Knights took their first lead of the game. There was no scoring for the next 1:36.

Illinois State’s (28-7) MiKyle McIntosh drew a foul from B.J. Taylor and went to the line with just 4 seconds remaining. After hitting both, UCF had one final chance to pull it out.

Dawkins put the ball in the hands of his point guard. Taylor drove the sideline, forced a foul of his own and went to the line with just over 1 second to play. He hit both to finish the evening 11-for-11 from the free-throw line and lift the Knights to the win.

“He executed it perfectly,” Dawkins said. “We got the ball exactly where we wanted it and he stepped up and made some clutch free throws.”

Taylor led UCF with 22 points and five assists. Matt Williams, who went 5-of-9 from three-point range, finished with 15 points, while Davis added 11 points and six rebounds.

Tacko Fall went scoreless and had just three rebounds in the first half, but came back to finish with eight points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

“It’s huge for us to have a chance to play at home,” Dawkins said. “Who wouldn’t want to play at CFE Arena? With our environment, and our students will be back. I’m just really excited.”

For questions on tickets, call the UCF Athletics Sales & Service office at 407-823-1000.