The UCF Knights were back in action after a two-game stretch on the road but lost to the SMU Mustangs 70-61, dropping to 8-7 in the season and 1-3 in conference play.
Brandon Goodwin, B.J. Taylor and Adonys Henriquez led the Knights' offense with 11 points apiece, but it was SMU and their top-notch coach who walked off the court victorious.
Mustangs head coach Larry Brown has been around the game of basketball for a very long time and he's an extremely accomplished, highly touted figure in the basketball world. The 55th overall pick in the 1963 NBA draft played five seasons of pro ball in the American Basketball Association before he decided to stick to the sidelines, but not before he won a gold medal as a part of the United States basketball team at the 1964 Olympic Games.
Brown is the only coach in history to win both an NCAA National Championship and an NBA Championship. He did so with the University of Kansas in 1988 and the Detroit Pistons in 2004. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in 2002.
"A terrific Hall of Fame coach in Larry Brown," head coach Donnie Jones said. "He's a class act. Obviously there's a reason he's been successful: Not only for the way he's won, but the way he handles things."
Brown's ties to UCF are unique. He coached UCF redshirt sophomore guard A.J. Davis' father, Antonio Davis, when he played for the Indiana Pacers.
"There were a lot of little guys when I was coaching that have grown up to be big guys … He's a gifted young kid. I think he got better every time I saw him," Brown said about the younger Davis. "Tony [Antonio] meant a lot to me."
SMU capitalized efficiently and quickly off of UCF's missed shots and turnovers. The Mustangs were able to come down the court without contest and put the ball up before the Knights could get back on defense to stop or slow the play.
"We have to work on transition defense. We have to get back because they're good in transition and they make a lot of threes," Henriquez said. "We have to get back on Defense."
It took the Knights a little more than 13 minutes to break into double digits, but their offense was sparked after a dunk by Justin McBride. The putback — off a dish by Henriquez — sparked some momentum for UCF, which quickly doubled its points from nine to 18 within two minutes.
Goodwin knocked down two buzzer-beating three-pointers in the Knights' last game against Houston, ultimately leading to an overtime victory. He showed remnants of his 30-point night when he knocked down a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send the Knights into the locker room down by just four after the first half.
SMU's speed on the court and conversions at key times were just too much for UCF to overcome, though.
"That's a quick team," said Kasey Wilson.
The Knights hit the court at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 14 at CFE as they take on a 12-4 Tulane team.
Jarrod Heil is a is a senior staff writer for the Central Florida Future. Find him on Twitter@JHeil11.