After a two-point loss to the Miami Hurricanes to close November, the 6-2 UCF Knights were hoping to open the month of December with a bounce-back against the Samford Bulldogs. In an overtime dog fight, #UCF secured the win, 80-77.
Captains On The Bench
Team captains in point guard Darius Johnson and forward CJ Walker were on the bench at the opening of this one. This is Johnson’s second game back since injury as he worked with Jayhlon Young to battle Samford’s full-court press. DJ fouled out late in regulation after amassing 12 points and five assists in his 28 minutes and 18 seconds of play.
Walker was in street clothes on the bench. Head coach Johnny Dawkins said that he is, “still recovering from the same injury he had before”. Dawkins mentioned that he was in the process of continuing his recovery and sees Walker returning sometime this year without a definite timetable.
Samford Profiting From Charity
Free throws were a huge part of this contest as the Bulldogs went 24-of-29 for the game including hitting all 11 attempts in the first 20 minutes. This kept the game close as the Knights led 33-31 at halftime. It wasn’t until the 13th attempt early in the 1:30 into the 2nd half that Samford missed a shot from the charity stripe. Dawkins mentioned postgame that this isn’t out of character for the Bulldogs who average 27 free throw attempts and around 86 points per contest.
By the time overtime came, both teams were in double bonus because of the number of team fouls. CJ Kelly’s final bucket of the night that secured his 16-point outing was an “and one” that fouled out one of the Bulldog’s scoring leaders for the afternoon in Jermaine Marshall. Marshall had a total of 15 points while going 13-of-16 from the free throw line.
The Knights themselves managed to get 23 free throw points from 34 attempts while going 6-of-11 in overtime. That being said, it was UCF playing more disciplined in overtime that led to Samford finishing with three players fouled out.
Tay throwin' down! He's already in double figures pic.twitter.com/zkHEN4GXtM— UCF Men’s Hoops (@UCF_MBB) December 4, 2022
Yet another night with 20 or more points from Hendricks who continues to shine as a star despite his true freshman status. Finishing with 21 is awesome in its own right, but his shooting percentage was immaculate as he finished 6-of-7 from the field with 4-of-5 from three-point land. Over and above that, Hendricks also made the key steal that set up Young to hit the free throws that would give the Knights what would be the final lead change of the game.