The UCF Knights brought their shining armor courtside, and even though it took three overtimes to do so, they prevailed through a nail biter. The Knights' narrow 103-100 victory, maintained their perfect all-time record at home against Tulane (5-0), and handed Green Wave their fifth loss of the season as well as their second in the American Athletic Conference.
"I'm really proud of the guys tonight," head coach Donnie Jones said. "It was back and forth so much tonight. I was really proud of our team; how they stayed and kept their composure."
The game was all tied up after the first half, second half, first overtime and second overtime before the Tulane Green Wave couldn't water down the Knights' fiery offense any longer.
"In a game like that, and you're a competitor, all you want to do is win," freshman B.J. Taylor said. "You just keep playing and let the adrenaline push you through."
The Knights' triple digit performance was headed by the team's leading scorer, B.J. Taylor, who made the game winning free throws. Five different players scored in the double digits while junior Staphon Blair put up a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
UCF defeats Tulane 103-100 in triple overtime
Taylor's 33 points marked a new career-high as a Knight. His 44 minutes of action included 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and a poised 9-of-10 performance from the free throw line, his eighth becoming the eventual gamer winner with 15 seconds left in the third overtime.
Four Knights logged 43 or more minutes and sophomore Brandon Goodwin was on the court for 50 of the 55 minutes.
"He does have poise and he does have composure and he's very coachable," Jones said about Taylor. "With those things, his upside's through the roof [in regards to] where he can get to. He hasn't tapped where he can get to."
The crowd impact was huge for the Knights and they said it helped propel momentum and put a little more pep in their step.
"It's great when they come out and support us, and they're loud and rowdy and they just give us more energy," Taylor said. "It helps a lot."
The fans may have come for the free T-shirts, but they stayed until the end of the nail-biting triple overtime victory because UCF gave its fans a reason to cheer.
"Obviously we need to give them a T-shirt every night," Jones said jokingly. "They were huge tonight. They gave our guys energy… hopefully we can give them that kind of excitement every night that will make them want to come back."
The Knights will give the fans a chance to regain their lost voices as they hit the road for their next two games. They play at Memphis at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17 to kick it off.