The Knights played the role of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" as they snagged away an overtime win against the Wildcats 101-96.
After trailing by as many as 18 points, UCF won the second half 58-45 and out-rebounded the Wildcats 40-26 through the entire night.
UCF came out of halftime with a sense of urgency. Trailing by 13, the Knights hopped out to an 18-4 early second-half run as redshirt junior Matt Williams' three-pointer at just over three minutes into the period gave the Knights their first lead.
Bethune-Cookman's redshirt junior Jordan Potts kept his team in the game with 35 points and nine assists going 7-for-12 from deep downtown, while knocking down the game-tying three with seconds remaining of regulation play.
"I knew when I hit that shot … for a moment I feel like I could get wherever I wanted to," Potts said.
After Bethune-Cookman's late game tying three, the Knights reclaimed control-winning overtime with a 17-12 run. Senior Daiquan Walker led the way, finishing with 21 points, 10 assists and four rebounds in 41 minutes of playtime.
"Just being a senior, I know a lot is expected of me. Coming down in crunch time I always want to take the big shots ... I always want the ball in my hands," Walker said.
Senior Shaheed Davis chipped in with 16 of his 20 points coming in the second half. Redshirt sophomore A.J. Davis was also a key contributor with 11 points, four rebounds and five assists before fouling out late in the second half.
"He [Shaheed] got underneath and played like a big guy. He adjusted, I challenged him at halftime about competing at a different level and he did that," said head coach Donnie Jones.
UCF turned the ball over seven times and shot a dreadful 37 percent from the field, leading to a 27-12 advantage for Bethune-Cookman 12 minutes into the game.
The Knights came into the game shooting just over 30 percent from three-point range, but they started 0-8. UCF went to half down by 13 after their first two three-point shots swished through the net with a minute remaining in the first.
Jones' message to his players at halftime was clear: Play with more effort.
"We're either going to win this game or get blown out by 20-plus. We're going to press, we're going to pick-up full-court, we're going to trap everything. If you don't play hard, you come out … and you know what? They responded," Jones said.
The Knights will close out the New Year at home against George Washington (10-1) December 29 at the CFE Arena at 7 p.m.
Christopher Davis is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future.