Sometimes when you lose, you still win.
It was an amazing Sunday night in Columbia, South Carolina, and once again, the UCF athletic department was on the national stage. The Knights basketball team came within a whisker of the upsetting powerhouse and National Title favorite Duke.
And it capped 18 months of massive recognition and accomplishment for the Black and Gold.
First, if you weren’t watching, here are the frantic final seconds with Knights down by a point with the chance to beat the top seed:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 24, 2019
Yes, it is paining UCF’s fans that they had not one, but two chances, to put in the winning shot to knock off the Blue Devils in advance to the “Sweet 16.” However, when the coach’s son, Aubrey Dawkins, had his tip in rim- out, Duke survived. America was still buzzing about the Knights and their near upset.
In fact, two hours after the game concluded, 5 of the top 10 trending topics in the United States on Twitter were related to the game and/or even, Dawkins and UCF 7′ 6 center, Tacko Fall.
Former Duke All-American, now UCF hoops boss, Johnny Dawkins, has put the Knights in the national conversation in just his third season.
And, this comes on the heels of back-to-back amazing football seasons that made UCF a “household name” in the college athletic circles.
The run started with Scott Frost and a perfect season that finished with UCF kayoing powerhouse Auburn in the Peach Bowl in January of 2018. It continued with first-year Coach Josh Heupel leading the Knights to another perfect season and second straight AAC Championship game win. Having upped the nation’s longest win streak to 25 straight games, the streak ended January 1st, when they were beaten by LSU in the Fiesta Bowl.
Still, for all the ridicule of UCF celebrating as “National Champions” 13 months ago (and it’s deserved), the Knights have had massive increase in fundraising and interest for the University derived from it’s athletics teams.
Most importantly, you simply cannot put a price tag on all of the humongous nationwide attention/free media covderage the school has gotten because of these successes.
Yes, it was heart-break (see the photo of Dawkins being consoled at the top), but in Sunday night’s case, a near success (77-76) will still will have everyone talking Monday morning.
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