Pirate Lead Slips Away In Final Moments Of Regular Season Finale
March 7, 2009
From staff and wire reports
ORLANDO, Fla. - Jermaine Taylor scored 36 points, converting a three-point play with 28 seconds left, to propel UCF to a 74-71 win over East Carolina on Saturday night in the Conference USA regular-season finale for both teams.
Taylor, the nation's third-leading scorer (26.2), helped the Knights (17-13, 7-9) snap a four-game skid with his late heroics on senior day.
After Taylor's late layup and free throw gave UCF a 72-71 lead, the Pirates (13-16, 5-11) attempted to hold the ball for a last shot. But Sam Hinnant, who scored 22 for ECU, was called for an offensive foul with 2.7 seconds remaining while driving down the lane. Taylor Young hit two free throws for the final margin.
The Pirates jumped out to an 8-0 lead behind a pair of 3s from Hinnant and held a 14-point lead at halftime. The Pirates shot 55.6 percent from the floor in the first half, making 15-of-27 field goal attempts which included seven 3s. Defensively, ECU held UCF to 25.7 percent shooting during the opening 20 minutes.
ECU extended its lead to 17 points in the opening minutes of the second half. UCF then outscored East Carolina 38-17, 19 points courtesy of Taylor, over the next 12 minutes to take a 59-58 lead with 6:27 remaining.
East Carolina then responded with a 9-0 run and the Pirates took a two-point lead with 44 seconds to go when Jamar Abrams connected on two free throws.
Abrams and James Legan each finished with 13 points for the Pirates, who shot 51.0 percent overall and 45.5 percent from behind the arc.
Hinnant scored 18 of his 22 points from deep, making 6-of-9 3-pointers to surpass Fred Primus with the most 3s during a season in school history. Hinnant has made 83 triples this year, eclipsing Primus' mark of 80 set during the 2000-01 season.