The UCF Knights within an inch of beating the Duke Blue Devils and punching their ticket to the Sweet 16 on Sunday, but fate had other ideas.
Players were in tears on the court after that final prayer went unanswered by the basketball gods. It was just a brutal way to end what was such an inspirational game, and season, for the Knights.
After the heartbreaking loss, UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins, who played for Mike Krzyzewski and coached under him at Duke, gave his players what comfort he could with an incredible post-game speech in the locker room.
“We end in tears. That’s because we invested so much in each other,” Dawkins told his players. “I love you guys. It’s been amazing coaching this group, and for us, we got a lot of good memories, we accomplished a lot of amazing things this year.”
Blood, sweat, and tears. The UCF team gave it all on Sunday, coming up oh, so short. Yet these words from coach Dawkins will surely act as a balm to soothe that wound.