UCF showcased its depth and explosiveness on offense in Coral Gables on Saturday as the Knights won 95-89 over the Miami Hurricanes to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The 95 points ties for the most points the UCF Knights have scored in a game in the Johnny Dawkins era. UCF scored 95 points twice in 2018-2019 season, doing it against Georgia Southern on 12/11/18 and SMU on 2/24/19.
Here is a look at three things that we learned in the Knights’ win:
1. Darin Green Jr. Is Developing into a Go-To Guy
Darin Green Jr. led the Knights with 23 points, going 9/16 from the field and 5/9 from the 3-point line. Green has showcased more variety in his offensive arsenal this season with a mid-range game, including stepback and fadeaway. Green made some huge shots down the stretch and was the go-to guy when UCF needed a basket late.
“I thought he was terrific,” UCF Head Coach Johnny Dawkins said about Green on the Knights’ postgame audio show. I thought he did a great job, especially in the 2nd half when we needed some baskets. He made some big plays for us when we were trading back-and-forth, blow-for-blow, and I was like, ‘Get the ball, put the ball in his hands, let’s run our action and go to him, and he delivered.”
2. UCF Dominated the Boards
UCF out-rebounded the Canes 43-23, including 16 offensive rebounds that led to 18 2nd-chance points.
C.J. Walker led the Knights with 11 rebounds to go along with his 14 points on 6 of 8 from the field. A case can be made that this was Walker’s best all-around game as a Knight.
Walker also showed he can play alongside Cheikh Mbacke Diong, as both started together. Diong chipped in with 7 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Both Walker and Diong altered many Canes shots in the paint .
Cheikh Mbacke Diong. Buy Stock Now.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 13, 2021
3. UCF Has Shooting and Depth
UCF had balanced scoring as nine Knights posted points, and four scored in double figures. The Knights outscored the Hurricanes 40-17 off the bench, led by Brandon Mahan and Isaiah Adams, who both came off the bench today.
Mahan scored 15 points including 10/10 from free throw line, which was big late in the game as Miami was making a run.
Adams chipped in with 12 points including a big three in the 2nd half when Miami had made a run to cut what was once a 17-point game down to 6 with 8:40 to go.
UCF’s backcourt depth was huge as both Darius Perry and Darius Johnson fouled out of the game. In stepped Dre Fuller, who went 6/6 from the stripe late to hold off the Canes in the final minutes.
UCF also won the 3-point battle going 11/27 from while holding the Canes to 6/26.
“We got some guys that can shoot the basketball,” Johnny Dawkins said on the postgame show.
The Knights hit 11 threes in the game after only going 6/24 in the opener against Robert Morris on Wednesday.
UCF also was strong at the free throw line, going 24/27 after just going 7/10 on Wednesday.
Dawkins and the players have said leading up to the season that they have the skill to go along with the depth that will allow them to go full court and play fast. That was on display on Saturday, and if that is a sign of things to come, the Knights will make headlines across the country.
UCF just showed why it's the sleeper team in the American Athletic Conference. Knights beat Miami in Coral Gables. A convincing win for Johnny Dawkins' squad.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 13, 2021