UCF stumbles into the AAC tournament

It's tournament time

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  • | 12:12 p.m. March 11, 2015
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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A difficult bracket in the American Athletic Conference Championship tournament proved insurmountable for the Knights, who fell in an overtime thriller to East Carolina 81-80.

The Knights were facing statistically vertical odds as they stumbled into the AAC tournament having never beaten any of the teams on their bracket in the 2014-15 season. The reason they were facing that challenge was a massive late-season collapse that sent them even farther down the AAC ladder and giving them a bad seed in the tournament.

Even with a win over East Carolina, they would have faced certain NCAA Tournament challenger SMU, which has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for several weeks.

But they didn't make it that far, with a wild second quarter comeback giving way to a heartbreaking one-point loss in overtime in Hartford Connecticut.

It would be Kasey Wilson, the longtime Knight in his final game in the uniform, who would watch his final, would-be game winner bounce out in the final seconds. In the final 3 minutes of overtime the lead hadn't changed, and nobody had scored at all, amid a clanging chorus of half a dozen missed shots.

Needing some heart to pull off an unlikely win, the Knights had seen 300-plus-pound center Justin McBride sink a jumpshot, and Wilson brought the Knights within a score with his free throws. But it wouldn't be enough as the clock struck zero on a disappointing Knights' season.

The Knights (12-18) entered the final four games of the season with a shot at avoiding their first back-to-back losing seasons in more than a decade. Instead they lost all four, ending with their single biggest blowout loss of the year, coming at the hands of a team that had entered the game with only two conference wins all season.

The game that ended the Knights’ men’s basketball team’s season-ending losing streak would come as a matter of chronology rather than from a victory. After the 74-45 loss to USF (9-22, 3-15) on March 4, there were no more regular season games for the Knights.

And in losing to the Bulls the Knights extended a losing streak that’s haunted them for now 11 seasons: in that span they have never won their regular season finale.

With a crop of freshmen and sophomores comprising the majority of the Knights starting squad, they'll be looking ahead to a more experienced team next season.


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