Tacko Thursday: 7-6 Fall leads UCF to win in Charleston
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) Tacko Fall, the NCAA's tallest player at 7-foot-6, had a career-high 26 points and 12 rebounds in UCF's runaway, 86-61 victory over Mississippi State at the Charleston Classic on Thursday.
Fall is a sophomore from Senegal who played like a project much of the time his freshman season. But Fall appeared much more polished in dominating the Bulldogs underneath.
He made 13 of 17 shots, eight of those dunks and two more on layups. He helped the Knights (2-0) open a 29-point lead in the first half and cruise to victory.
Tank Efianayi had 17 points, 15 coming in UCF's big first half as it made 19 of 30 shots to take a 53-33 lead. B.J. Taylor also finished with 17 points for the Knights.
Fall choked off any thoughts of a Mississippi State comeback with the first two baskets of the second half, including a gliding one-handed jam as the crowd at TD Arena cheered.
He surpassed his previous high of 23 points set against Stetson last December.
The Bulldogs could not respond and fell into the loser's bracket of the eight-team tournament.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs fell into a big hole early and could not dig themselves out. They went nearly seven minutes with just two baskets as UCF built a 29-point lead in the first half. That's not going to cut it when Southeastern Conference play rolls around.
UCF: There's no bigger picture for the Knights than Tacko Fall, who according to the school is one of the world's 40 tallest living human beings. He's also the tallest player in the NCAA and played like it against Mississippi State. Can't see why Fall could not continue this kind of play once UCF begins American Athletic Conference play.
Mississippi State faces Boise State or College of Charleston on Friday
UCF will play Boise State or College of Charleston on Friday.