Knights outlast Green Wave in triple overtime

UCF needed three overtime periods to pull out the 103-100 win over Tulane, but the added minutes proved to be no problem for the Knights.

Freshman B.J. Taylor paced the Knights (9-7 overall, 2-3 American Athletic Conference) with 33 points in 44 minutes while Brandon Goodwin added 18 points in a game-high 50 minutes on Wednesday night in front of an announced crowd of 4,503.

“I don’t even feel tired,” Taylor said. “The adrenaline was going and in a game like that all you want to do is win. You don’t feel tired. In a game like that, you just keep playing; you just let the adrenaline push you through.”

Five players scored in double digits for the Knights, including 15 points each from Kasey Wilson and Staphon Blair while Adonys Henriquez added 11 points. The team shot 52 percent from the field during the game and converted 43 percent of their shots from behind the three-point line.

“I thought there were a lot of efforts tonight that were outstanding,” Knights head coach Donnie Jones said. “Obviously Staphon Blair with 39 minutes, 15 points and 13 rebounds, I thought he played like a monster in there. Kasey Wilson took another step tonight and he’s really starting to come into his own which we need him to at the right time.”

The Knights nearly lost the game at the free throw line as they converted on only 58 percent (25-43) of them. With 24.3 seconds left in regulation, Daiquan Walker missed two free throws with the Knights up by two points.

Following the two misses, Djordjije Mumin hit a three-pointer to give the Knights a 73-72 lead with 17 seconds remaining.

Goodwin drew a foul and converted only one of his two free throws after Mumin’s shot to tie the game at 73. Tulane’s Jonathan Stark drew a foul with 1.4 seconds left, but missed both free throws to send the game to overtime.

Tulane also had its share of struggles from the free throw line as they converted on just 8-of-19.

“I think it’s mental and it becomes physical; guys get tired,” Jones said on his team’s struggles at the free throw line. “Obviously Goodwin is a good shooter, he’s just got to go in there mentally and make them and he’s done that before. There were three guys that got to do a better job with that; they’re capable of making them.

“I thought they played a lot of minutes tonight and we’re in a scenario that is probably a little unusual at times but we just got to go in and keep shooting them.”

With the game tied up at 97 in the third overtime, it was Taylor again that came down with a layup that put the Knights up 99-97 with 34 seconds left. The Green Wave missed two three-pointers in the final five seconds to ensure the Knights of their win.

The Knights will have the next two days off before traveling to Memphis to take on the Tigers at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPNews.