Tampa Bay Sports Day

NIT: UCF Falls to TCU 68-53 Tuesday at Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK – A historic season for the UCF men’s basketball team came to a close in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. The Knights dropped a 66-53 decision to TCU in the semifinals of the Nation Invitation Tournament.

UCF ended its season with a 24-12 overall record, posting the program’s second most victories in a single season during its Division I era.

Trading baskets to start the contest, the teams found themselves tied 4-4 at the 18:19 mark. UCF scored six unanswered over the next two and a half minutes to take a 10-4 advantage at the first media timeout. The Knights continued to build their lead, pushing out to a 24-15 advantage with another six unanswered on back-to-back three-pointers from Tank Efianayi and Nick Banyard.

TCU responded with a 10-0 run of its own to even the score at 29-29 with 1:43 left in the first half.

Matt Williams fired up the crowd as he hit a jumper with 49 ticks left on the clock to end the UCF scoring drought and put the Black and Gold in front 31-29. The Knights defense came up with a stop just before break to take the two-point edge in to the locker rooms.

The Horned Frogs opened the second half on a 15-3 run to take a 44-34 lead with 15:44 left to play. Each time the Knights cut the lead to single digits, but TCU responded to push its advantage back to double figures.

As they’ve done all season, the Black and Gold continued to battle. A.J. Davis brought the crowd to its feet with a dunk that pulled the Knights within seven points, 52-45, with 8:52 left to play. Fueled by the crowd, UCF made a run at the Horned Frogs, but were unable to overcome the deficit.

Matt Williams closed out his UCF career with a team-high 15 points, draining three shots from beyond the arc. The Orlando native finished his Knights tenure with a program-record 274 threes. B.J. Taylor added 10 points, while Tacko Fall swatted a season-high six shots, tying his career high for blocks.