After the big win in South Florida over the Miami Hurricanes this past Saturday, UCF Knights Men’s Basketball took the court Tuesday hosting North Florida’s Dolphins of Jacksonville University winning 63-54 at Additional Financial Arena.
It was a game of streaks that started with nine lead changes in the first half and the Knights surviving with a 29-28 lead going into the locker room. UCF struggled shooting at times seeming force fast tempo. Meanwhile, the Dolphins shot well throughout the evening from beyond the arc finishing 9-of-21 (43%). Head coach Johnny Dawkins spoke on the challenges related to the tempo of play that contributed to the Knights’ offensive struggles.
After the win over #Jacksonville, @UCF_MBB's@Coach_Dawkins spoke about the improvements in playing with tempo he and the team look to make moving forward. #GKCO @UCFBanneret_SBN pic.twitter.com/uQWmKRhccp— Kyle Nash (@TheSoTG) November 17, 2021
“Our pace and our spacing weren’t as good as I would like for it to be tonight and we have to make sure we are committed to that,” said Dawkins. “With the depth that we have, we have to utilize that pace and our space on that floor. Of course, we are going to be emphasizing that come Thursday [at practice].”
While they were out-rebounded 36-22, UCF’s defense forced 24 Jacksonville turnovers while only giving up eight.
The game was finally broken open by the Knights when Brandon Mahan drained a huge three with 1:59 left in the contest. Jacksonville went into double bonus with 10 team fouls on the next play. This allowed Darius Perry to hit four clutch free throws that allowed his squad to charge on to victory.
Dawkins spoke about tonight’s outing being the best of the three so far in closing a game out.
Coach also mentioned how important depth was in the victory for the Knights. Led by junior guard Darin Green Jr scoring 11 points UCF featured six players posting eight or more points including nine from the Knightmare Player of the Game redshirt junior Dre Fuller Jr. who spoke to the team-oriented nature of this group's style of play.
“We’ve just got a lot of guys — we’ve got a lot of guys that can go,“ said Fuller. “The depth that we have on the bench is crazy. . . “
The Knights head on the road to battle the Evansville Purple Aces Saturday in Indiana at 2:00 pm EST with an opportunity to go 4-0 going into hosting the Oklahoma Sooners the following week.