A strong performance from redshirt senior guard B.J. Taylor helped the UCF men’s basketball team pick up a 79-72 home victory over Memphis on Saturday at CFE Arena.
Taylor led the way for the Knights with a game-high 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. It wasn't the points that had UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins raving after the game, though. Dawkins said Saturday was one of Taylor’s best overall games since he began coaching him three years ago.
“All I could say was how good was B.J.? I thought he was terrific,” Dawkins said. “… He really led us. When he was off the ball, we wanted him to be aggressive to score — he did that. When he was on the ball, we wanted him to find guys and make guys better — he did that. What more can you ask for [from] a player? Really, really proud of what he did.”
Taylor started the game off hot, drilling three straight three-pointers in the first half. He finished the half with 14 points.
After the game, Taylor said it's always good to come out and rebound from a tough loss. That tough loss he was referring to was a 20-point defeat at Memphis on Jan. 27.
“For us, our whole thing was redemption,” Taylor said. “We need to make up for what happened up there in Memphis and we did a good job. [There are] still things we can clean up defensively, but it’s always good when you can redeem yourself and never let teams sweep you in conference.”
One trend in this game was the physicality that both teams displayed.
“There’s a desperation,” Dawkins said. “Everybody’s playing with so much on the line. Everybody is competing. Everybody is fighting and clawing and that’s what you expect.”
Four UCF players scored in double-figures, including Taylor. Redshirt junior Aubrey Dawkins scored 17 points, including a pivotal three that gave the Knights a four-point lead with 2:40 left in the game. That clutch shot came after Memphis had cut UCF's lead to one.
Senior center Tacko Fall had 15 points, shooting five-of-six from the field while totaling seven rebounds. Fall also had an impressive showing at the free-throw line, making five of his seven attempts. Redshirt junior guard Terrell Allen scored 10 points and added six rebounds and three assists.
The Knights improved to 19-5 (9-3 American Athletic Conference) on the season, which matches both their number of total wins and AAC wins from last season.
UCF will get back on the road this week, heading to Cincinnati (20-4, 9-2 AAC) for a Thursday matchup. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.