UCF Adds Another In-State Triumph to Win List

Box Score (PDF)

ORLANDO—The 2021-22 UCF men's basketball non-conference schedule is chock full of attractions—from Oklahoma (Nov. 27) to Auburn (Dec. 1) to Michigan (Dec. 30). 


The Knights' slate also includes three rival teams from the state of Florida. That's why UCF's 63-54 victory over Jacksonville Tuesday night at Addition Financial Arena—coming off a solid road win Saturday at Atlantic Coast Conference representative Miami--provided a bit more state pride for the half-dozen Florida products on the home-team roster, not to mention the rest of the Knights. 


An Alabama native, fifth-year senior Brandon Mahan, made sure of it.


UCF (3-0) goes for the three-game Florida sweep Dec. 18 when the Knights face off against ACC rep Florida State in Sunrise, Florida. 


Not much about this UCF victory was easy. The Knights were outshot from the floor overall and from three-point range—and found themselves outrebounded 36-22. But 24 Jacksonville turnovers (to only eight for UCF) doomed the visitors.


"It was the most physical game we've had, and I think our guys responded well," said UCF coach Johnny Dawkins. "And we didn't shoot the ball really well, so you have to win on the defensive win. To hold that team to 54 points is the storyline."


The three-point range proved particularly kind for UCF late. Darius Perry connected on a huge three at the 4:12 mark for a 51-51 tie. Mahan did the same at 2:55 to bring the Knights from behind to a 56-54 advantage. Then Mahan did it again 56 seconds later from in front of the UCF bench to make it 59-54. In between came a Jacksonville shot-clock violation, fourth of the game forced by UCF.


"He scores the ball," said UCFs' Cheikh Mbacke Diong of Mahan. "It doesn't surprise us. He's the best player I've played with."


"Our seniors responded--and they should. They made the plays they had to make," added Dawkins. "We finished the last three or four minutes about as well as we could."


The home team ended the game on a 12-0 run—as Jacksonville missed seven of its last eight shots and didn't score for the final 3:45.


Darin Green Jr. led the winners with 11 points—while Mahan, C.J. Walker (a Sanford, Florida, product), Perry and Dre Fuller Jr. (six rebounds) all had nine.


Guards Jordan Davis and Tommy Bruner each had 13 points for Jacksonville. 


Jacksonville hit two quick threes to start the game while UCF opened a chilly one of six from the floor. The Dolphins scored seven straight points in 52 seconds to lead 19-15—with five straight made baskets fueling a 12-2 run to go ahead 26-17. The Knights went on an 8-0 run of their own over a minute and a half—finishing the period knocking down five of their final seven attempts from the field for a 29-28 advantage at intermission. 


UCF's largest first-half lead came at 15-12. Jacksonville shot at a .545 rate over the first 20 minutes but suffered through 12 turnovers. Seven points by Fuller (on three-of-three field-goal shooting) paced all first-half scorers. Perry had a career-best four steals by halftime. There were nine first-half lead changes (11 overall).


UCF (3-0) returns to action Saturday for its second road contest at Evansville (2 p.m. EST). The Knights' next home game is Nov. 27 versus Oklahoma (2 p.m. EST on ESPN+).