Written by Adrian Beecher
New York, NY - Vlad Brodziansky’s 18 points and 9 rebounds, coupled with Kenrich Williams double-double helped lead the TCU Horned Frogs to a 68-53 win over the UCF Knights in the NIT Semifinal Tuesday evening at Madison Square Garden. It was a comeback effort on behalf of the Horned Frogs as UCF lead by 10 with just over 5 minutes left in the 1st half. Here’s how it all went down.
TCU won the tipoff in a very questionable toss up by the ref. The Horned Frogs quickly got things going with a dunk from JD Miller. The Knights quickly answered with a jumper from BJ Taylor followed by a layup from AJ Davis to give the Knights the early 4-2 lead. After a jumper from TCU’s Vlad Brodziansky had tied it up, the Knights went on a 6-0 run to take an early 10-4 lead with 15:44 left in the first half.
After another basket from TCU’s Vlad Brodziansky, UCF’s Matt Williams hit a triple to put UCF by 7. Shortly after, Williams hit his second triple for the Knight’s after two baskets from TCU. The Horned Frogs answered with a triple of their own from Kenrich Williams. What followed was an 8-2 run by the Knights that included triples from Nick Banyard and Tank Efianayi to give UCF a 24-15 lead with just 8:36 left to play in the half.
The Horned Frogs ended the run with a layup from Brodziansky to cut it to 7. However, UCF kept the pressure on, and with 5:12 left in the first half they had extended their lead to 10 points as Williams hit his 3rd triple of the game. What then ensued, was a dominating 10-0 run by the Horned Frogs that was started by a triple from Alex Robinson to tie the game up at 29.
The Knights would end the run with a jumper from Matt Williams with 49 seconds left as they went into the locker room with the 31-29 lead, but all the momentum was with the Horned Frogs. The drop in shooting percentage for UCF was dramatic, to say the least. After starting the half 6 for 8 shooting 75% from the field, they finished 6 for 21, shooting just 28%. This trend continued into the second half for the Knights.
TCU started the 2nd half with the ball and quickly tied the game up at 31. This was just the start as the Horned Frogs opened up a 7-0 run to start the second half forcing the Knights to use a timeout with 18:21 left in the second half. Out of the timeout, AJ Davis missed a triple, but on their ensuing possession, BJ Taylor hit a triple to cut the deficit to just 2.
Then TCU went on a 9-0 run to push their lead to 11 on the Knights with under 16 minutes left to play in the game. This marked a 26-5 run for the Horned Frogs dating back to the first half. BJ Taylor was able to end the run with a jumper to make it 45-36 with the Knights trailing. Then it was Tank Efianayi getting in on the action with a jumper of his own to cut the deficit to 7. A layup from Kenrich Williams from TCU pushed their lead back to 9 with just 12:51 left to play.
After a free throw from BJ Talor had cut the deficit to just 8, TCU’s Kenrich Williams hit a triple to push their lead back to 11. A layup from Taylor and a dunk from Davis would cut the TCU lead to just 7 forcing TCU to call timeout. After the timeout Brodziansky put in a layup, pushing the lead back to 9.
After two minutes of scoreless basketball, it was TCU’s Kenrich Williams putting in another layup to make it an 11-point game again with just 5:41 left to play. The Knights continued to fight and did everything the could to claw their way back into to this one and with 3:21 left to play, the deficit was just 7 points.
However, after that, the Horned Frogs would go on an 8-0 run to push their lead to 15 points with just 1:54 left on the clock. Shortly after UCF head coach, Johnny Dawkins would sub out his starters, conceding defeat as TCU earned a spot in the NIT Championship on Thursday, March 30th at Madison Square Garden.
Written by Adrian Beecher
New York, NY - Josh Okogie’s 22 points and 9 rebounds helped to lead the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to a 76-61 NIT Semifinal victory over CSU Bakersfield at Madison Square Garden. Early on things were close, but it soon became clear who the more dominant team was. Here’s how it all went down.
Georgia Tech won the opening tip and got things started on their second possession with a jumper from Ben Lammers. The Yellow Jackets would make it 4-0 before Bakersfield out in their first bucket with a jumper from Jaylin Airington with 17:36 left in the half. However, Georgia Tech would keep their tempo going early, pushing their lead with an 8-2 run to open the game.
The first triple of the game came from CSU Bakersfield’s Jaylin Airington with 15:26 left in the first half to make it 8-5 with the Jackets on top. The Yellow Jackets kept their pressure on and were able to push their lead to 7 points with 11:12 left in the first half. Then things went mostly back and forth over the next four minutes, as the Roadrunners were able to cut the lead as it fluctuated between a 3 and a 7-point deficit.
Then the Yellow Jackets went on a 7-0 run to take a 29-18 lead with 5:18 left to play. After that, things slowed down ahead of halftime with the Yellow Jackets only scoring 4 points before Jackson hit a triple at the Buzzer to send the Georgia Tech into the locker room with a 36-26 lead on USC Bakersfield. Before Jackson’s triple, it was CSU’s Dedrick Basile hitting a triple for the Roadrunners.
Leading the way in scoring for Georgia Tech at the half was Josh Okogie. For the Roadrunners it was Durham and Airington leading the way with 7 points each.
CSU Bakersfield started the 2nd half with possession and got the first points with two free throws from Matt Smith to cut it to an 8-point game. Then the Jackets were again able to push their lead to 12 points before a triple from the Dedrick Basile for CSU to cut it back to 9. This was a constant climb for the Roadrunners, with Georgia Tech continuously pulling away slowly. They would cut it to 8 points with another triple from Basile before the Yellow Jackets went on a 13-3 run to push their lead to 18 with 11:49 left to play.
The Roadrunners continued to struggle to fight their way back into this one and with just 7:51 left to play, the Yellow Jackets had a 19-point lead. It was a struggle the rest of the way for CSU Bakersfield to put a dent in the Jackets lead. They would cut it to 14 points with 3:24 left to play, but that was all the closer they would get. As the final buzzer sounded, it was a 76-61 victory for the Yellow Jackets as they sealed their spot in the NIT Championship game Thursday, March 30th.
Written by Adrian Beecher
Orlando, FL - The hometown boys Matt Williams and BJ Taylor combined for 33 points, while AJ Davis added 16 points to lead the UCF Knights to the NIT Final Four with a 68-58 win over the Fighting Illini in front of a first-ever sellout crowd at CFE Arena. Early on the Knights dominated, but near the end of the game, the Illini made it very interesting before UCF sealed the game. Here’s how it all went down.
UCF won the tipoff, and Nick Banyard quickly put in a jumper from the right side to give the Knights the 2-0 lead. That was answered two possessions later with the Illini’s Malcolm Hill sinking a triple to make it 3-2. Then it was the Matt Williams hitting back to back triple’s for the Knights to make it 8-3 as the Illini called a timeout to slow momentum.
That however, did not happen. The Knights got a quick steal, and then Matt Williams hit his third triple of the game to make it 11-3 Knights. The Fighting Illini ended the 9-0 run with another triple, this time coming from Tracy Abrams.
The Knights continued with the pressure as BJ Taylor hit a layup and Matt Williams connected on two free throws to give the Knights a 15-6 lead. The lead was pushed to 11 before Illinois was able to get in a bucket as AJ Davis got in on the action with a triple of his own.
After a bucket from Tacko Fall, the Illini got their 5th triple of the night as Leron Black sank it from deep. At this point, it was 22-15 UCF, and then the Knights got on a hot 10-0 run to push their lead to 17 with 2:59 left to play in the half. Illinois was then able to get their first 2-point basket of the game to end the run with a layup from Malcolm Hill. Before this basket, the only buckets from the Illini were triples. They followed that up with a steal and a dunk by Hill to make it 32-19 with the Knights leading.
UCF was able to push their lead back to 15 with two free throws from AJ Davis before the half as they went into the locker room with a 15-point lead. Leading the charge for UCF was Matt Williams with 13 points. For the Illini, it was Malcolm Hill with 7 points.
Illinois started the 2nd half with the ball, and Malcolm Hill hit a triple immediately to make it just a 12 point game. UCF’s first possession of the half ended in an over and back call, but then on their next possession after getting a stop, it Matt Williams hitting a triple to push their lead back to 15. Then Tacko Fall slammed in a dunk to make it a 17-point game before Illinois put in a layup. At this point, it was 39- 24 with UCF on top.
After the Illini was able to cut the lead to just 13 points, UCF’s Tacko Fall put in a layup, and BJ Taylor drilled a triple to make it an 18 point lead for the Knights with 15:03 left to play. After the media timeout, the Illini was able to get a steal and a triple from Hill to cut the deficit to 15.
The buckets for UCF just kept falling as they were able to push their lead to 19 points with 12:44 left on the clock as Tank Efianayi put in a layup. This would be the largest lead of the game for the Knights. The Fighting Illini were able to get in a basket shortly after to make it a 17-point game before both teams spent 3 minutes scoreless.
AJ Davis ended the scoring drought with a free throw for the Knights, then Malcolm Hill drained a triple for Illinois to make it a 15 point game with 9:21 left to play. That is when things started to get fascinating.
Nick Bayard put in a dunk for the Knights, but then the Illini answered with another triple, this time coming from Te’Jon Lucas to make it 14 points. Fall had answered for the Knights with a dunk before the Illini hit yet another triple to cut it to a 13 point game with 5:51 left to play.
Another layup from Tacko Fall made it 15 points again until Illinois’ Malcolm Hill hit back-to-back triples to make it just a 9 point game with 3:59 left to play. After the under 4-minute media timeout, AJ Davis fouled Hill from beyond the arc and sent Hill to the line where he connected on all three free throws to make it just a 6 point game with 3:14 left on the clock. This capped off a 9-2 run to put the pressure on the Knights to finish the game off.
A minute later AJ Davis was able to drain two free throws to give the Knights a 8 point lead. Then at the other end, Davis fouled Hill from beyond the arc for a second time. This time Hill only connected on 2 of 3 free throws, again cutting the Knights lead to 6 with just 1:14 left to play.
Then it became a free throw game, and down the stretch, UCF hit 9 of 12 from the line to capture a 10-point victory over the Illini as they punched their ticket to New York City in a spot in the NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden. The Knights will now face TCU in on Tuesday, March 28th for a spot in the NIT Championship game.
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