Tall Fall leads UCF to first-ever win in NCAA tournament

The Knights have not had tests from the top programs, but it fared well with its soft schedule.

UCF won its first Division I NCAA Tournament game in school history with a 73-58 victory over VCU on Friday night at Colonial Life Arena.

The win moves UCF on to the round of 32, where they will have the hard task of facing the overall number one seed in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in the Duke Blue Devils.

Zion Williamson helped Duke hold off UCF 77-76 in a thriller in the round of 32 at the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

The game possesses a bigger storyline in that it features Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski facing his former player, Knights head coach Johnny Dawkins.

Early on, the Rams limited UCF's star 7-foot-6-inch forward Tacko Fall by double - and at times triple - teaming him.

Dawkins also said he would have liked to avoid Duke in the tournament, and not only because the Blue Devils are favored to cut down the nets after the Final Four. He gets 18 rebounds in an NCAA tournament game, a double-double, that's having a huge impact on a game, and he's capable of doing that.

Williamson had 15 points in the first half, but had not dunked on the tall Fall - mainly because UCF's center played just eight minutes due to foul trouble.

UCF's lead grew to as much as 20 points with 9:49 left before VCU made a last push. Despite entering the contest ranked 339th in the nation from the perimeter, the Blue Devils took each of their first four shots beyond the arc-making two-and Duke enters the locker room at 5-of-11from downtown.

VCU dominated in the Atlantic 10 during the regular season, but suffered a disappointing 75-70 upset in the quarterfinal round to Rhode Island.

The Knights are a strong defensive team, allowing just 64.1 points per game while holding opponents to 39.2 percent shooting.

VCU was led by Malik Crowfield's 11 points, while De'riante Jenkins added 10.

"We've been challenging Tacko all season long about really imposing his will on the game", Dawkins said. "You know, we're always happy to see each other do well and succeed, so when somebody makes a big play, we don't even have to be on the court; we're gonna celebrate". "I think probably the last six weeks we've seen a turn in that". Who wouldn't be as the Knights senior stood 11 inches taller than Williamson and has a wingspan of 8-foot-4?

  • Steve Townsend