Balanced Effort Leads Knights Past NJIT

Box Score

ORLANDO –  Five Knights scored in double figures for the first time this season and the UCF men's basketball team cruised to its third straight win, a 78-65 defeat of visiting NJIT Saturday afternoon at Addition Financial Arena.
"I was really pleased with how we started the game," UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said. "I thought it was one of our best starts of the year."
The Knights (6-2) opened up the scoring with a 3-pointer by Darin Green Jr. and led 11-3 before the first media timeout. UCF extended its first-half advantage to 15 points twice, at 23-8 on a three by Ceasar DeJesus, and at 25-10 when Dazon Ingram drove for a bucket with 12:04 to play in the first.
After taking a 41-30 lead into the break, the Knights used a 21-5 run early in the second, capped by a long jumper by Collin Smith to make it 62-37 with 10:32 to play in the game, ultimately putting the contest out of reach for the Highlanders (2-7).
All five starters scored in double figures for UCF, led by DeJesus with 15, Ingram and Dre Fuller Jr. with 13, and Smith and Green adding 11 apiece.
"I like that balance," Dawkins said. "Depth is a strength of ours and I think it was evident today. Five guys in double figures…I don't know how many times in my career here that has happened, but it hasn't happened too often."
The last time it happened was last season at home against SMU. In that game, Tacko Fall, BJ Taylor, Chad Brown, Terrell Allen and Aubrey Dawkins all scored in double figures as the Knights dismantled the Mustangs, 95-48.
In his fourth straight start, Fuller's 13 points matched a career-high set last game against Charleston. Ingram has scored in double figures in four of the last five games, Green has in five of the last seven, and Smith in five of the last six games out.
The Knights offense was extremely efficient for the third consecutive game, shooting 51.6 percent from the field. UCF's season-best was 51.8 percent in the win over Pepperdine, and the Knights were 48-3 percent from the floor in the win over Charleston.
DeJesus was a big part of that on Saturday, going 7-of-9 from the field. He was also 1-of-2 from long distance, added three rebounds and dished out two assists while turning the ball over just one time.
"I think he's settled into knowing who he is out on the floor," Dawkins said of DeJesus. "He's my oldest returning player. He started with me. To see him grow into his role, I'm proud of him. I'm happy to see him having the success that he's having."
UCF has now won three in a row and improves to 6-2 on the season. The Knights return to action on Tuesday, hosting Green Bay at Addition Financial Arena. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. with coverage on ESPN3 and FM 96.9 The Game.
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