Home Polk County Sports UCF Takes Down No. 3 Kansas in 1st Big 12 Home Game

UCF Takes Down No. 3 Kansas in 1st Big 12 Home Game


The Knights kicked off their four-game stretch against Top-25 ranked opponents with a 65-60 win over the Jayhawks.

“The message for us is simple: We belong.”

UCF men’s basketball coach Johnny Dawkins made his declaration Jan. 4 prior to the Knights’ Big 12 Conference opener at Kansas State, and in front of a raucous, sellout home crowd six days later, they proved it.

Built upon a second-half surge and stifling efforts on the defensive end, UCF put its new conference on notice, toppling the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks by a 65-60 final score before 9,469 fans at Addition Financial Arena, marking the third largest crowd in program history and the second highest in a regular season game.

The victory ranks among the most prolific in program history, representing the first against a top-three nationally ranked opponent, the second against a top-five foe, and the ninth against a squad ranked within the top 25. En route to the team’s upset, the Knights (10-4, 1-1 Big 12) erased a Jayhawks (13-2, 1-1 Big 12) lead that grew to as many as 16 points with 3:45 remaining in the first half.

“It was a great night for UCF. Our guys kept fighting in a game in which they got down early in the first half to a very good Kansas basketball team,” Dawkins says. “When they get that type of lead, you start to get knocked back a little bit. In our timeouts, I was trying to settle them down and stress that we have to take it possession by possession. We talked about working our way back in it in that last four-minute segment, and we were able to do that.

“I’m proud of the way we fought back with great courage, effort and energy throughout the entire night.”

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