Saturday, January 6th, 2024 will be known as a historic day for the UCF Knights men’s basketball team (9-4). It will also be a day the team and its fans will like to forget. The Knights were blown out in their first-ever Big 12 conference game, losing to the Kansas State Wildcats (11-3), 77-52 in Manhattan.
Call it a wake-up call. Call it a rude introduction to Big 12 basketball. Call it whatever you want. The one undeniable thing is that this was a disappointing way to start conference play
What exactly went wrong? Let’s go over the key takeaways:
33.8%. That was the Knights’ overall shooting percentage. 65 shots were taken. Only 22 were made.
Doesn’t matter who you play in the Big 12. That isn’t going to get you a win.
Everyone had a poor shooting performance. This led to some of the teams’ better players not having large point totals.
Jaylin Sellers, arguably the Knights’ best player, was held to a season-low eight points with a three-for-13 shooting performance. Shemarri Allen had six points while going three-for-eight. Darius Johnson scored 10, the most on the team, while also shooting three-for-eight.
The only Knight who had a decent shooting performance was C.J. Walker, who came off the bench and went four-for-eight. But when that only gets your team eight points, that’s not going to do much.
To win in the Big 12 you need to hit a lot of three-pointers, which the Knights did not do in this game.
The Knights shot 21 threes and only hit five of them. That’s a 23.8 shooting percentage, one of their worst percentages of the season.
More Accurate Opponents
The Knights took more shots than the Wildcats, with 65 attempts compared to 58, but the Wildcats made 43.1% of their shots. All but one of K-State’s starting lineup scored double-digit points. Guard Tylor Perry was the biggest issue for the Knights, as he scored 25 points while shooting seven-for-13.
To put it simplify, the Knights’ defense couldn't force many misses and therefore they couldn’t make up for their struggling offense.
The Knights are going to need to shake this game off because while they will be back home for their next game, they will have a much tougher opponent waiting for them. On Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. the Knights will take on the #2 Kansas Jayhawks, one of the highest-ranked teams UCF has ever hosted.