ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – The final game of UCF’s non-conference slate is set for Friday night, as the Knights host Illinois State at 7 p.m. in a rematch of the 2017 National Invitation Tournament thriller in Normal, Ill.
Date: Friday, Dec. 21
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Radio: 96.9 FM/740 AM The Game
Live Stats: https://ucfknights.co/2BvdzAr
PROMOTIONS TO KNOW
Holiday Ticket Pack: Fans looking for a Holiday deal can take advantage of the Holiday Ticket Pack for Friday’s game against Illinois State. For $26 receive two lower bowl tickets, two UCF holiday t-shirts and a post-game photo on the court. To redeem offer, click here.
UCF Basketball Toy Drive: The fourth annual UCF Basketball Toy Drive is under way. Knights fans that bring a toy to Friday’s game will receive a complimentary Orlando’s Hometown Team flag for their support in raising awareness for victims of domestic violence.
National Championship Trophy: The NCAA Championship Trophy will be at CFE Arena Friday night. Photo opportunities will be available for fans on the concourse.
When fans look back at UCF’s NIT run two years ago, many likely remember a sold out CFE Arena, as the Knights took down Illinois to earn a trip to the tournament’s semifinals. Others likely remember the week in New York City as the Knights experienced the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden.
None of that would have been possible if UCF hadn’t come back from down 18 points to defeat top seeded Illinois State in the second round of the tournament, snapping the Redbirds’ 22-game home winning streak.
Led by BJ Taylor’s 22 points, UCF charged back to win 63-62 in Normal, Ill., as the point guard’s two free throws with just over one second remaining gave the Knights the victory back on March 20, 2017.
The Redbirds get their chance at revenge on Friday. Illinois State hasn’t had the same type of success this season as it did in 2016-17, starting just 7-5 with both of its last two wins coming in overtime, over Cleveland State and BYU.
The Knights, meanwhile, aim for their fourth straight win and their ninth victory in the last 10 games, dating back to Nov. 15. With a win, UCF would improve to 10-2 and start American Athletic Conference play with momentum on Jan. 2.
NOTES TO KNOW
The Knights are 6-1 at home in 2018-19.
UCF is receiving votes in the most recent USA Today Coaches Poll.
Aubrey Dawkins recorded his second career double-double the last time out and has scored in double figures in each of his first 11 games as a Knight.
UCF has scored 90 or more points in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
BJ Taylor ranks fifth in The American with a career-high 18.5 points per game.
Terrell Allen ranks eighth in the nation with a 4.2 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Tacko Fall leads The American with a 78.5 percent field goal percentage and is third in the nation with 3.55 blocked shots per game.
UCF is the only team ranked in the top three in The American in both scoring offense (3rd; 76.3) and scoring defense (3rd; 63.6).