UCF Rebounds in Big Way Versus Bethune-Cookman

Box Score (PDF)

ORLANDO—For Johnny Dawkins' UCF men's basketball team, there proved no better antidote for a two-game losing streak than a Sunday afternoon at Addition Financial Arena and a long dose of red-hot shooting against Bethune-Cookman.
The Knights (5-2) built a 27-point halftime lead, thanks mostly to 65.4% marksmanship in the opening 20 minutes, including a half-dozen three-point goals (on only eight attempts). UCF led by 20 less than 15 minutes into the matinee and was never really threatened.
Bethune-Cookman (1-7), meanwhile, shot only 33.3% through intermission and contributed to its own struggles with 13 first-half turnovers.
All that paved the way for a relatively routine 81-45 Knight victory. The final margin represented the largest of the afternoon (achieved first after a 15-3 UCF run made it 79-43).
The Knights placed four players in double figures--18 by Darin Green Jr. (four of eight on threes), 12 by Tyem Freeman off the bench, 11 by Brandon Mahan (three of four on threes) and 10 by C.J. Walker. Darius Perry had eight points and six assists.
"I thought it was a great game," said Dawkins. "Our guys had a certain focus about them today.
"We needed to bounce back, and I really like the way we bounced back. The assist number (21) was terrific."
The victory came after the Knights endured successive defeats at the hands of Oklahoma and Auburn.
"We just came out with more intensity today," added Walker.
Joe French had a dozen points for the Wildcats; Marcus Garrett added 11.
UCF outrebounded Bethune-Cookman 36-28—led by nine by Cheikh Mbacke Diong.
From a tie at 7-7, the Knights exploded, notching nine straight points as Bethune-Cookman missed eight of nine shots. A 13-0 run pushed the lead to 36-16, fueled by back-to-back threes by Perry. Green's three capped a 16-2 run over a two-minute span after back-to-bank alley-oop dunks by Walker and Freeman excited the crowd early.
Then UCF finished the half with a 12-0 run to bring the intermission tally to 48-21. The Knights connected on six of eight from distance in those first 20 minutes (three of three by Mahan, two of two by Perry).
UCF built its second-half lead to 58-29 despite missing eight shots in a row—at the same time Bethune-Cookman started the half by missing 10 of its first 14.
The visitors missed their first six free-throw attempts and finished three of 10 from the line.
UCF returns to action Saturday against North Carolina A&T (2 p.m. EST on ESPN+) at
Addition Financial Arena.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats will have played their first nine games away from home before playing host to Johnson (Fla.) University Dec. 15.