The UCF basketball team almost pulled off the upset of the 2019 NCAA Tournament as the Knights lost by one to top-seeded Duke. UCF had two opportunities to win the game late, but both attempts rolled off the rim. Head coach Johnny Dawkins talked to his team after the heartbreaking loss.
Dawkins’ ability to compose himself in the locker room was a symbol of his dedication to the program. Many of the Knights were heard crying in the background of the video. The loss is excruciating as UCF played a fantastic game and had two opportunities to win the game with under 10 seconds to play.
The coach’s son, Audrey Dawkins, had a tip-in attempt with under five seconds to play, but it rolled off the rim.
Audrey Dawkins had a phenomenal game as the redshirt junior went 12-18 from the floor for 32 points. Dawkins hit a ton of clutch shots for the Knights down the stretch and almost beat Duke on his own. He was devastated after his putback attempt did not fall, but he was consoled by his dad after the game.
“We end in tears…that’s because we’ve invested so much in each other.
— UCF Men’s Hoops (@UCF_MBB) March 25, 2019
The younger Dawkins spent time in Durham as a kid when his dad was an assistant at Duke. Mike Krzyzewski consoled him and UCF players after the game, a symbol of class from the Hall of Fame coach. Dawkins and Krzyzewski have a great relationship as the UCF coach is the player that started the Duke dynasty.
Dawkins is responsible for the Blue Devils’ first Final Four appearance in the Krzyzewski era and is the school’s second all-time leading scorer.
UCF was inches away from having a Sweet 16 matchup with Virginia Tech, which would make them this year’s Cinderella. Instead, the Knights are heading home to Orlando after a historic season. They won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game against VCU and were seconds away from making the Sweet 16.
Dawkins’ message to his team is inspirational, but UCF fans will have to wait until next season to see if the Knights have a season as good as 2019.