Preview: Knights Return Home to Host Cincinnati

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ORLANDO – The UCF men's basketball team returns home Saturday afternoon to take on the Bearcats of Cincinnati for their fourth conference game of the season. Tipoff from Addition Financial Arena is at 12 pm with coverage on ESPN2 and FM 96.9 The Game.
Last year, the Knights defeated the then 19th-ranked Bearcats at home 58-55 en route to the team's first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. One of only two wins against Cincinnati all-time, UCF will look to continue its win streak against the Bearcats on Saturday.
Cincinnati holds an 11-2 advantage in the series, which first began in 1983, but started yearly in 2014 when both teams joined the American Athletic Conference.
Last time out, UCF dropped its fourth straight game, losing 81-74 at SMU. Ceasar DeJesus, Collin Smith and Matt Milon all scored 19 points to lead the Knights. For Milon, it was a season high, and the senior eclipsed 1,000 points for his career.
Cincinnati is coming off a win against Tulsa, 75-44, and is hoping to defeat the Knights on the road. The Bearcats (9-6) are averaging 73.3 points per game, with their leading scorer and AAC Preseason Player of the Year, Jarron Cumberland, averaging 13.8 points per game.
The Knights are 9-6 heading into Saturday's game, hoping to break their losing streak and win their first home game of the conference season.
Date: Saturday, Jan. 11
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game
SETTING THE SCENE                                                                       

  • The UCF men's basketball team had a successful non-conference season, going 9-3 overall, but has now dropped its first three games of the American Athletic Conference season.
  • The Knights have lost four straight games overall, the longest losing streak for the team since losing four straight from Jan. 22 to Feb. 1 in 2017.
  • UCF looks to rebound at home against Cincinnati after splitting the season series with the Bearcats last year.

TOUGH START TO AMERICAN PLAY                                        

  • The Knights have opened American Athletic Conference play 0-3 for the first time since joining the league.
  • It's the first 0-3 start to league play for UCF since starting 0-3 to open the 1996-97 TAAC season.
  • UCF is now 33-24 under Dawkins in league play as a member of the American Athletic Conference.
  • Since the inception of the league for the 2013-14 season, the Knights are 48-63 in league play.
  • The team's best record in American action was 13-5 last season, while the team's worst conference record in the AAC was 4-14 back in 2013-14.

LAST SEASON VS CINCINNATI                                    

  • The Knights and the Bearcats split the season series in 2018-19 with each team winning on its home court.
  • Cincinnati outlasted UCF 60-55 in Ohio on Feb. 21, as Keith Williams and Jarron Cumberland went for 12 and 11 points, respectively, to lead the way.
  • Then on March 7, UCF returned the favor, winning 58-55 in Orlando, behind 22 points from B.J. Taylor and 10 by Tacko Fall.

HAIL CEASAR                                    

  • Ceasar DeJesus led the Knights with a career-high 21 points in the win over Pepperdine and has scored in double figures in seven of the last eight games.
  • The junior guard has been extremely efficient from the floor, ranking sixth in the conference with a 52.5 field goal percentage on the season.
  • DeJesus started every game of his freshman season in 2016-17, before taking a reserve role last season. This year, he has started 10-of-14 games, including the last eight outings.

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