Before we begin “deep diving” what took place in the UCF Knights Men’s Basketball 69-59 season-opening win over the Robert Morris Colonials, one thing should be stated off the bat — the law of “it’s just one game” applies.
Last week at Hoops Media Day, UCF Forward Isaiah Adams said that his squad would be playing fast and scrappy on defense. With nine steals and eight blocks on the night for the Knights, Adams declaration held true in shutting down the Colonials despite allowing a 7-0 run to open the second half and a 10-1 run that closed the game.
Head coach of @UCF_MBB @Coach_Dawkins spoke about the performance of his UNLV transfer Chiekh Mbacke Dijong making his first start as a Knight against Robert Morris. #GKCO #RMUvsUCF @UCFBanneret_SBN pic.twitter.com/uRlSVmwTCc— Kyle Nash (@TheSoTG) November 11, 2021
UNLV transfer Chiekh Mbacke Dijong also did his part starting at center in his UCF debut to deliver power in the paint that Knight fans have come to know and love from CJ Walker. Dijong posted five blocks with four points and seven rebounds.
That’s not to say the veteran Walker was outdone down low. Off the bench, Walker recorded 12 points and eight rebounds of his own.
UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins last week additionally expressed excitement from the mere act of having full practices and offseason workouts that weren’t canceled. At those practices, a focus for the Knights was a better shot selection.
Even with Darius Perry dropping 7-of-15 on field goals for 18 points, UCF as a team finished 44% from the field and 25% beyond the arc. Coach Dawkins confirmed that he was disappointed in the shot selection, but mentioned it may be a matter of his crew trying to find balance in playing fast and smartly finding buckets.
With shot selection as a focus in practice going into the season, @UCF_MBB's @Coach_Dawkins commented on how he felt his team did on that against Robert Morris. #GKCO #RMUvsUCF @UCFBanneret_SBN pic.twitter.com/QFzSPmlxTw— Kyle Nash (@TheSoTG) November 11, 2021
Perry also added to the opportunities for improvement coming out of the victory over RMU.
While @UCF_MBB secured a dominant win over Robert Morris, Darius Perry commented on what he'd like to see done better on the road against @CanesHoops on Saturday. #GKCO @UCFBanneret_SBN #RMUvsUCF pic.twitter.com/WDKZgRSDpi— Kyle Nash (@TheSoTG) November 11, 2021
Any critical UCF fan is accurate to point out that the claims from media day delivered (or not) after a single contest against Robert Morris are miles from mission accomplished (or failed). And the upcoming Miami game in South Florida will certainly do plenty more to see if the Knights are the real deal this season.