The UCF men's basketball team bounced back from Sunday's tough loss to Memphis with an impressive showing against UConn on Thursday night, pulling out a 73-67 victory at CFE Arena.
The Knights (16-4, 6-2 in American Athletic Conference) continued their run of defensive success, holding the Huskies (12-9, 3-5 AAC) to 22 points and a 33 percent shooting mark in the first half.
"You know for us, I thought the first-half defense was some of the best first-half defense that we've played all year," UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said.
On the offensive side, redshirt senior guard B.J. Taylor pushed around the UConn defense, scoring nine first-half points before finishing the game with 21.
Thursday was the 44th time in 91 career games that Taylor led the Knights in scoring, according to UCF athletics.
It was another night of dominating an opposing team's defense for Taylor, as he has done throughout the season. The Orlando native is eighth in the conference in scoring, averaging 16.9 points a game.
“We have an NBA caliber guard, and that’s what B.J. [Taylor] is,” Dawkins said. “We count on him to make plays.”
UConn came out in the second half to more of the same unrelenting defensive press and scoring from Taylor. UCF held the lead the entire game, with the largest gap being a 15-point lead in the first half.
Hustle points were critical for the Knights in the closing minutes of the second half, as UConn brought the game back within two points before senior forward Chad Brown stopped the bleeding with a dunk around the four-minute mark.
“Chad [Brown] was great, he came off the bench and did his thing,” Taylor said. “He had the huge put-back dunk toward the end of the game.”
UCF returns to the court on Thursday to host conference-leading Houston at CFE Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.