Knights Run Away From Michigan In Second Half

Box Score (pdf)

ORLANDO – The UCF men's basketball team (9-2, 1-0) capitalized on the energy of 9,358 strong at Addition Financial Arena Thursday night to run away with a second-half lead and fend off visiting Michigan (7-5, 1-1) by a score of 85-71.

"That was a great win against a good basketball team," said head coach Johnny Dawkins. "I'm proud of the way our guys bounced back in the second half and executed to help us close out conference play with a big win like this."

With the win, the Knights extended their winning streak to five straight games and closed out non-conference play at 8-2. UCF is now 14-3 over its last 17 games played dating back to last season.

The lively crowd was the third largest all-time at UCF and marked the most for UCF at a home game before January of any year.

"It gives you goosebumps," said Dawkins. "When our crowd comes out the way they did tonight and they get loud, it's one of the best arenas you can play in. I've been in a lot of great arenas, and I've seen [Addition Financial Arena] get as loud as any of them."

It was a battle early Thursday night as the Wolverines carried a 35-31 lead into halftime, and the deficit only grew for the Knights to kick off the second half of play.

The Wolverines extended their lead to 12 just two minutes into the second half and Dawkins called time to regroup his squad.

The stoppage worked to say the least as the black and gold went on an 18-2 run shortly after play resumed to take a 55-51 lead and they didn't look back.

The Knights shot 72.0 percent from the floor and hit all eight of their three-point attempts in the second half to outscore the Wolverines 54-36 in the half and secure the victory.

Darin Green Jr. poured in a career-high 27 points on a career-best seven made three-pointers, while Brandon Mahan had season highs of 26 points and five made threes to lead the way. The duo of Green and Mahan combined to go 12-of-16 from beyond the arc as they totaled 53 of the Knights' 85 total points.

"I think that was one of the best second halves we have ever had," said Dawkins. "Our guys responded well both offensively and defensively to help us secure that win."

UCF will have a few days to let the victory soak in before the Knights fly out to Dallas, Texas for a Jan. 2 showdown at SMU, scheduled to tip at 2 p.m. ET.