ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF men’s basketball team scored the first 15 points and game was never in doubt as the Knights defeated visiting Stetson, 90-65, Sunday afternoon at CFE Arena. UCF improved to 9-2 on the season with the victory, the program’s best start since 2010-11.
Following a 95-88 win over Georgia Southern on Tuesday, it marked UCF’s first back-to-back games with 90 or more points since March of 2014 in wins over Houston and Temple, the latter of which was a double overtime contest.
“I thought our guys really played well and I think it is probably one of our best games as far as our guys making a lot of connecting plays,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said after the win. “I thought defensively we got off to a great start especially the first eight minutes of the game to build the lead. We got stop after stop and our guys were really focused. Coming back off the game we had where we gave up 88 points, I was happy to see our response was really lock in defensively and it turned into some good offense for us.”
The Knights held Stetson (2-10) to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 26.9 percent from three-point range, but those numbers were much lower in the first half as UCF built its insurmountable lead. The Hatters shot just 29.4 percent from the floor and 21.4 percent from long distance in the first 20 minutes of action.
Nine players scored at least seven points for the Knights, including Aubrey Dawkins, who went for 19 points and 13 rebounds with a pair of SportsCenter-worthy tip dunks. It marked his second career double-double and the 11th straight game that he has scored in double figures.
“I think when you look at the rebound category, he rebounded really well for us, which is really good,” Coach said of Aubrey. “We have been challenging him to get in there and get more rebounds for us and we need all of our perimeter guys to be more aggressive on the boards and he (Aubrey) really did that for us tonight. It is definitely one of his better performances for us this year and I’m happy that he played well.”
Dawkins’ 13 boards were a career high, as the Knights outrebounded the Hatters 47-37 for the game. Tacko Fall and Chad Brown each chipped in with six rebounds, two apiece on the offensive end.
“From the beginning to the end, I felt like our intensity was there” Brown said of the win. “We just kept executing the game plan and took certain guys out of the game. It was fun to play like that and when you play with a lot of intensity and energy, it’s contagious and everyone starts to feed off of that and that’s is something we continue to improve on.”
UCF finished with 18 assists for the second straight game, which is its second best output this season. The Knights also had just six turnovers, a season-best for the squad. UCF outscored the Hatters 15-8 off of turnovers, 36-28 in the paint and 26-10 on the break.
“I love seeing team wins and everybody contributing,” Brown said. “It’s not just scoring. It can be rebounding, moving the ball, taking charges, just things like that. Everybody contributing to a win is special and it shows what type of team we can become with guys coming out and making big plays for us.”
Fall and BJ Taylor both scored 10 points, while Brown, Ceasar DeJesus and Frank Bertz each added nine. Collin Smith and Terrell Allen had eight points each, with the latter adding a team high five assists. Fall finished with five blocked shots in the victory.
UCF will finish out non-conference play Friday. The Knights host Illinois State at 7 p.m. at CFE Arena.
TICKETS FOR 2018-19
Fans can purchase tickets for the 2018-19 UCF men's basketball season by calling (407) 823-1000 or online here: https://ucfknights.co/mbb1819tix.
This is a whole lotta fun! 😁 pic.twitter.com/kta1bDRobO— UCF Men's Basketball (@UCF_MBB) December 16, 2018