Preview: Knights Return Home to Host Charleston

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ORLANDO –  Coming off of a win in its first road game of the season, the UCF men's basketball team returns home to host Charleston on Saturday. The Knights and the Cougars are set to square off at 2 p.m. on ESPN3.
The Knights (2-1) have started the year splitting a pair of home games and winning their only road contest, a nine-point comeback victory at Illinois State last weekend. Charleston (3-1), meanwhile, is coming off a road win at Marshall.
UCF and Charleston have a long history, with the Cougars holding a 12-5 advantage in the series, which dates back to 1993. The Knights have won the last two matchups, including a second-round victory in the Charleston Classic during Johnny Dawkins' first season at UCF.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 23
Time: 2 p.m. ET
NEED TO KNOW                                                                              
The official freshman t-shirt for UCF men's basketball will be available to students in the class of 2023 at Saturday afternoon's game.
Oh and the Baby Race is back! Be sure to see which little one wins it at halftime during Saturday's game.
SETTING THE SCENE                                                                       

  • The new-look UCF men's basketball team proved it could get it done on the road last weekend, traveling to Normal, Illinois, and defeating the Redbirds 67-65.
  • The Knights are 2-1 with their only loss coming to Miami on Nov. 12.
  • Last year's team started 2-1 as well, but they finished 24-9 and earned the program's first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. UCF picked up its first NCAA Tournament win in 2018-19, a 73-58 first-round triumph over VCU.
  • As a nine seed, it was the highest seed in program history and UCF nearly took down top overall seed Duke, before falling in the final moments on a missed tip-in that rolled around the rim.

RALLYING PAST REDBIRDS                                                          

  • UCF was down nine points at halftime and as late as 9:41 to play in the second half, before coming back and defeating Illinois State 67-65 on the road on Nov. 17.
  • Collin Smith led the way with 18 points, but it was three double-digit scorers off the bench that allowed the Knights to earn the victory.
  • Brandon Mahan scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds for his first-career double-double, Darin Green Jr. added 13, and Avery Diggs chipped in with 10.
  • Both Mahan and Diggs were inserted into the starting lineup for the second half after have impressive performances in the first 20 minutes.

BALANCED ATTACK                                                        

  • Through three games of the 2019-20 season, UCF has four players averaging double figures.
  • Collin Smith leads the way with 13.3 points, while Darin Green Jr. is second with 11.3, Brandon Mahan is third with 10.3 and Dazon Ingram is averaging 10.0 points per game.
  • The Knights have had a different leading scorer in each of the three games with Ingram leading the way with 16 against Prairie View A&M, Frank Bertz and Green scoring team-highs of 13 vs. Miami, and Smith totaling 18 in the road win at Illinois State.

GREEN IN NAME AND BY DEFINITION                                                    

  • Freshman Darin Green Jr. is green. It's his name and he's new. He's a freshman.
  • But he seems anything but, as he is currently the second leading scorer for the Knights, averaging 11.3 points per game on 42.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
  • Green has knocked down eight 3-pointers on 19 attempts and ranks fourth in the American Athletic Conference with 2.7 threes made per game.
  • He has added four steals and only turned the ball over two times in three games.

SMITH'S STRONG START TO SECOND SEASON                                                   

  • After transferring from George Washington and sitting out a season, Collin Smith saw his first action with UCF in 2018-19, starting 32 of 33 games at the forward position.
  • Smith averaged 8.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 22.1 minutes per game.
  • With Tacko Fall gone this season, Smith has taken on a larger role on both sides of the floor.
  • The 6-foot-11 Smith leads the Knights in scoring through three games, averaging 13.3 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 59.3 percent from the floor.
  • The big man will also share it, averaging 2.0 assists per game in 2019-20.

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