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UCF Men’s Basketball Tunes Up Against Bethune-Cookman, 81-45.

After facing back-to-back losses against big programs, the Knights get an opportunity to sharpen their claws before facing Michigan and AAC play.

Derek Warden

After the tough 85-68 loss to the Auburn Tigers last Wednesday, UCF Men’s Basketball bounced back at Addition Financial Arena to declaw the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, 81-45.

After facing Auburn and hosting a three-point loss to the Oklahoma Sooners leading into this contest with 18 turnovers in each contest, it’s safe to assume that UCF would be looking for an opportunity to get a spark of momentum to build on.

One such example of this is guard Brandon Mahan. Mahan as a 46% three-point shooter last season has started the 2021-22 season in a cold streak hitting only 20% with 6 games of action featuring five starts. While Darin Green Jr. was UCF’s top performer on the evening with 18 points, four assists, and a steal, Mahan’s 11 points on thee-of-four from behind the arc is the sort of thing that can turn into a hot streak for upcoming outings when the schedule becomes more difficult.

Another opportunity that this win against the Wildcats provides for UCF is a chance to get younger players action on the floor. The best example of this was freshman point guard Darius Johnson lobbing an alley-oop dunk to veteran forward CJ Walker. Not to be outdone, on the next offense play, redshirt sophomore Tyem Freeman caught a lob from Darius Perry for a throwdown.

For any two players to hook up on plays and passes like these takes coordination that only comes from building chemistry. Dawkins spoke about building opportunities like these any others in the context of this ballgame for younger players.

With only a game against North Carolina A&T on December 11th at 2 pm EST between them and opening conference play against Temple, it would serve the Knights well to hit their stride with games against the Florida State Seminoles and Michigan Wolverines looming on the horizon. These little tweaks in this and the next game may be the difference between winning and losing in close games and adverse situations.