UCF (4-1) withstood runs in the first and second half, but they never relinquished their lead as they defeated the Seattle Redhawks(2-4) by a score of 67-51.
Right out of halftime, the Redhawks cut the Knights lead to eight, but thanks to back-breaking triples from the likes of redshirt senior guard Matt Williams and junior guard Djordijie Mumin late in the shot clock, they were able to keep their distance.
Sophomore center Tacko Fall didn’t have the kind of offensive output that he put together where he averaged a shade under 18 points in the first four games, but his rim protection and rebounding wreaked havoc on Seattle’s offensive sets as he collected 15 rebounds and four rejections.
“[Fall] is the last line of defense in our defense and he’s the biggest line of defense in the country,” redshirt sophomore B.J. Taylor said. “The more he communicates to us, talks to us, the more vocal he is back there it makes it a lot easier for us there up front.”
Williams and Taylor were the Knights offensive conductors all night. The backcourt tandem accounted for a combined 40 points with both of them scoring a game-high 20 points.
“Me and B.J. feed off each other as well as our team,” Williams said. “Going into the game I just threw B.J. a couple words … we kind of got our language with each other.”
Early on in the first half, UCF dictated and controlled the pace of the game, commanding an early 10-0 lead. But Seattle cut the lead to four after trailing 17-5 just six minutes into the contest.
Seattle’s rally didn’t last long as UCF responded swiftly ending the half on a 16-7 run to close the half leading 33-20.
Redshirt senior forward Nick Banyard was instrumental in pushing the lead out, knocking down back-to-back baseline jumpers after the Redhawks made it a two possession game for the first time all night.
Banyard and Taylor were the only two Knights to shoot a combined 67 percent from the floor while they poured in 18 of the teams 33 points before intermission.
“They went on a number of runs that we had to stop, but guys did step up and make the plays that were necessary—those two did a very good job of it,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said.
UCF will look to keep the momentum going versus Stetson (3-4) at CFE Arena on Wednesday at 7 p.m.