Knights Find Victory Through Defeat

When thinking of the Knights 2008-09 basketball season thus far, the biggest victory would appear to have been the somewhat improbable road win at New Mexico. The game featured a last second game winning three by Chris Baez and snapped New Mexico's 33 game home non-conference winning streak.

However, when all is said and done it may be the terrible loss at UAB that turns out to be the Knights biggest victory of the season.

As crazy as it sounds, when the Knights finished the UAB game shooting 0-17, and literally handed UAB a victory with their 2-13 assist to turnover ratio in the second half, they found something that had been missing in all the previous games.

The Knights had struggled all season to put together complete games of basketball, despite their strong record at the time. They would start games but struggle to finish (UAB), finish games but struggle to start (South Dakota State), or even not show up at all (@ Valpo). After the UAB loss where things fell apart, the Knights have played their three strongest games of the year in succession. Their bigs are getting it done in the post, their point guards are running the floor, and J.T. is being "the BEAST" of Conference USA. Not only that, they are playing solid for 40 minutes, or as close to it as they have all season. Even Coach Speraw has noticed the difference.

"In a funny way, I think it gave us a sense of confidence," Speraw said. "They are building on that."

Whether they took a moral victory out of having one of the best teams in the conference on the ropes in a road game, or it was just a realization that they needed to improve, the Knights have done just that. According to Coach Speraw, the improvement is not just in games.

"Our last two days of practice were as good of two days as we've had," said the Knights leader after their third consecutive conference win versus Marshall.

If UCF can continue to improve and play complete games the way they have of late, it is not out of the realm of possibility that this team could make a post season tournament. Be it the big dance or the NIT, any post season play for this young Knights team would be a huge step in the right direction.


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