C.J. Kelly led the Knights with a season-high 20 points and nine rebounds, while Taylor Hendricks added 17 points.
Here are my three thoughts on the win.
1. WHAT A START!
In my 20-plus years of following UCF Basketball, I have never seen a better start by a Knights team than Wednesday night, holding a pretty good Ole Miss squad scoreless for 8 minutes, forcing 8 turnovers, and executing on offense, scoring 21 points during that same time period.
The Knights would play from ahead all night and had answers whenever Ole Miss would make a run. That proved to be too much for the Rebels.
2. C.J Kelly & Taylor Hendricks Were Clutch in the 2nd Half
Kelly and Hendricks combined to score 27 of the Knights' 36 2nd-half points.
Kelly scored 16 of his season-high 20 in the second half, hitting daggers from the perimeter every time Ole Miss was making a run. He went 8/10 from the field including 3/4 from the 3-point line.
C.J. was on tonight!— UCF Men’s Hoops (@UCF_MBB) December 15, 2022
3 assists pic.twitter.com/Y9S22ghDNr
Hendricks scored 11 of his 17 points in the final 20 minutes of the game and did what great players do, which is close the game for the Knights down the stretch.
TAY TAKIN’ IT TO ‘EM— UCF Men’s Hoops (@UCF_MBB) December 15, 2022
He’s in double digits for the 8th time in 10 games pic.twitter.com/ZXkAog8DJa
3. UCF Is Building a P5 Resume
FINAL: #UCF 72, Ole Miss 61— Jason Beede (@therealBeede) December 15, 2022
A big win on the road for Johnny Dawkins and Co. 20 points from CJ Kelly, 17 from Taylor Hendricks. Ole Miss (7-3) was No. 51 on KenPom... Knights (8-2) were No. 65.
UCF now has wins against Ole Miss (SEC), Oklahoma State (Big 12), and Florida State (ACC). Ole Miss and Oklahoma State are the two marquee wins of the season as the Rebels and Cowboys are ranked in the top 60 in the NET Rankings and in KenPom. The Ole Miss win is a true road win, which as of now is a Quad 1 win.
The Knights will look to add to the resume Saturday when they take on Missouri in Sunrise. The Tigers are 9-1 on the season and ranked 61st in KenPom and 67th in NET. Tip-off is scheduled for noon eastern and will be televised on Bally Sports Florida.