Tacko Fall Double-Doubles, No. 9 UCF Beats No. 8 VCU to Set Up Clash with Duke
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 22:  Tacko Fall #24 of the UCF Knights dunks the ball against Vince Williams #10 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the first half during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Tacko Fall posted 13 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks as UCF beat VCU 73-58 on Friday at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina.

The Knights defense was astounding, holding the Rams to just 31.1 percent shooting. No VCU player had more than 11 points or four field goals. The Rams also went just 6-of-26 from three-point range and lost the battle on the boards to UCF, 42-34.

The Rams did not score for the final 5:41 of the first half or the first 5:41 of the second half.

Fall proved to be a bit of a matchup problem for the Rams, as this sequence showed:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Tacko Fall is a matchup nightmare…

#MarchMadness https://t.co/KF4TsJdylx

That may not have resulted in a UCF bucket, but this one did:

CBS Sports @CBSSports

TACKO FALL SMASH. https://t.co/WbzL4H5wZK

Rams forward Sean Mobley was the tallest VCU starter on the floor at 6’8″, so a mismatch seemed inevitable. That could be said for all of UCF’s opponents, of course, but Fall had little issue on both ends Friday.

As Rodger Sherman of The Ringer pointed out, Fall is remarkably efficient on the offensive end:

Rodger Sherman @rodger

As of right now, Tacko Fall’s career FG% is 74.0. If in the second half of tonight’s game, he shoots 0-for-60, and UCF loses, he will still set the NCAA career FG% record set in 1981 by Oregon State’s Steve Johnson (67.75%). 0-for-61 and he’s screwed. https://t.co/v84yrejgYc

In fact, Fall has shot at least 50 percent from the field in every game since Jan. 23. He made six of nine shots Friday.

The game started in ugly fashion, with a Mobley and-1 layup acting as the contest’s only points for the first six minutes. The two teams finally started hitting some shots at the end of the first half, but the Knights proceeded to go on a 19-0 run over the span of VCU’s scoreless drought.

The run started with back-to-back three-pointers:

NCAA March Madness @marchmadness

UCF drops back-to-back 👌s to take a 6 point lead over VCU in Columbia!

#MarchMadness https://t.co/zPm77LyiXW

UCF used its long-range proficiency to control the game, going 9-of-14 from deep.

On the other end, the Rams couldn’t get much of anything going. Kevin Sweeney of CBB Central revealed VCU’s first-half depth chart, which included zero makes from three-point range:

Kevin Sweeney @CBB_Central

VCU’s first half shot chart is… not pretty. https://t.co/TxgHKnN1IM

The Rams missed their first 13 threes.

Two Vince Williams free throws finally stopped the pointless streak, and the Rams finally gained some momentum late in the second half. An 11-0 run cut the UCF lead to 59-50 with 6:41 left, and a De’Riante Jenkins three-pointer later closed the gap to seven.

However, the Rams couldn’t come any closer than that deficit.

UCF will now face Duke on Sunday, once again in Columbia.

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