Knights Hit the Road for AAC Showdown at SMU

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DALLAS – Winners of five straight and fresh off a victory over Michigan at home, the UCF men's basketball team (9-2, 1-0) will look to kick off the new year in style by extending their winning streak to six straight Sunday afternoon when they take on SMU (10-3, 1-0) at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas.
The Knights and the Mustangs are scheduled to tip off at 2 p.m. ET on ESPNU while Marc Daniels will be on the call on FM 96.9 The Game.
The game against SMU will mark UCF's return to American Athletic Conference action as the Knights already opened up AAC play with a win after taking down Temple in Philadelphia, 75-64, on Dec. 15.
The red-hot Knights have defeated Bethune-Cookman (12/5), North Carolina A&T (12/11), Temple (12/15), North Alabama (12/22) and Michigan (12/30) to extend their winning streak to five straight games. Over that stretch, the black and gold have outscored opponents 389-296 while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three-point range.
Meanwhile, UCF is holding opponents to a 36.9 field goal percentage, including 27.6 percent from deep.
Junior Darin Green Jr. leads the team over the five-game streak with 17.0 points per game and is shooting 48.7 percent from three (19-of-39).
Coming into the season, SMU was tabbed as the third ranked team in the conference preseason poll, just behind Houston and Memphis. 13 games into their season, the Mustangs boast a 10-3 record and have won their last seven, including their most recent 74-69 win at Tulsa.
SMU is led by head coach Tim Jankovich, who is 111-58 over his seven-year career with the Mustangs.

Sunday's game will mark the only game this season between UCF and SMU. Last season, the Knights fell to SMU in Orlando, 78-65. The Mustangs hold the all-time series lead at 13-10 and the Knights are just 2-8 when playing SMU at their place.
In addition to being their sixth straight, a win over the Wolverines would move the Knights to 15-3 over their last 18 games played dating back to last season.
Game Information
Date: Sunday, Jan. 2
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game

  • UCF capped off non-conference play with a bang on Dec. 30 as the Knights ran away with a second-half lead to fend off visiting Michigan 85-71.
  • The Knights capitalized on the energy of 9,358 strong at Addition Financial Arena, the third largest crowd in UCF history, to secure the win over the Wolverines.
  • The crowd also marked the most for UCF at a home game before January of any year.
  • The win finalized UCF's non-conference record at 8-2 and marked the Knights' fifth straight win and first over the Wolverines.
  • The Wolverines carried a 35-31 lead into halftime, and the deficit only grew for the Knights to kick off the second half as Michigan extended its lead to 12 just two minutes into the second half before the Kngihts called time to regroup.
  • The stoppage worked 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.
  • Meanwhile, 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.


  • Johnny Dawkins picked up career win No. 100 in the Knights' win over N.C. A&T on Dec. 11, becoming just the third coach in UCF history to reach the milestone.
  • Dawkins is 103-62 since starting with the Knights in 2016, a win percentage of .624, the second best of any UCF coach (Torchy Clark, .754 from 1969-83).
  • He has the third most wins over any UCF coach, trailing only Clark's 274 and Kirk Speraw's 247 from 1993-2010.
  • Dawkins is the fastest coach to reach 100 wins in program history in the Division I era, needing only 162 games to do so.
  • Dawkins had his squad off to a 4-0 start to begin the 2021-22 season, tying his 2017-18 mark for his best start to a season at UCF.
  • Dawkins has led UCF to its first NIT Final Four (2017), first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament (2019) and first NCAA Tournament win (2019).
  • Prior to Dawkins' arrival at UCF, the program had won three games against ranked opponents from 1984-2016. Since Dawkins has taken over, the Knights have won five games against ranked opponents.
  • UCF had never won two games against ranked teams in a single season, and the Knights did it in a span of five days, taking down No. 6 Houston and No. 19 Cincinnati late in the 2018-19 season.
  • UCF is now 8-50 all-time against ranked opponents, but 5-16 against ranked teams under Dawkins.


  • As a team, UCF has knocked down 79.0 percent of its free throw opportunities through the first 11 games of the season, which leads the conference and is 10th in the nation as of Dec. 30.
  • The Knights' current single-season record for highest field goal percentage is 76.1 percent (1975-76).
  • Before missing his first free throw of the year in the win over Michigan, fifth year senior Brandon Mahan had not missed a free throw dating back to 02/01/21 at Memphis (last 20 games).
  • Mahan was a perfect 48-for-48 in free throw attempts over that stretch.
  • Seven Knights are shooting 75.0 percent or better from the line as of Dec. 22 (min. eight attempts).

A+ start in the AAC                       

  • The Knights got off to a great start in American Athletic Conference play on Dec. 15 after securing a 65-48 win over Temple in Philadelphia.
  • UCF held Temple to 19 first half points, the least amount of points UCF has allowed to an opponent in the first half since holding SMU to 14 on March 4, 2020 before going on to win, 61-58.
  • UCF outscored the Owls by 18 in the second half after shooting 65 percent from the field, compared to just 19 percent through the first 20 minutes.
  • Three Knights posted double-digit scoring totals in the victory as Brandon Mahan (18), Darin Green Jr. (17) and Tyem Freeman (14) all had solid outings.
  • Mahan's 18 were a season-high for the fifth-year senior. He was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
  • Freeman's 14 point scored marked a career-high for the first-year Knight, plus he added seven rebounds and three assists, also career-highs.
  • With the win, UCF is now 4-2 all-time in league openers under head coach Johnny Dawkins.

GREEN IS GOOD                                                        

  • Junior Darin Green Jr. has made a big leap forward in year three with the Knights as he leads the team with 15.9 points per game to open the season, ranking seventh in the conference.
  • Green has led the team in points in seven out of its first 11 games to open play, with double-digit points in all but two games.
  • He was named to the American Athletic Conference honor roll on 11/15 and 12/13
  • His 45.0 percent mark on threes leads in the AAC.
  • Green ranks 24th in the nation with 3.27 threes per game and he is 24th in the country with his 45 percent mark on threes.
  • He has posted three games with five made threes (11/27 vs Oklahoma, 11/13 at Miami and 12/30 vs Michigan).
  • Against Michigan, Green was 7-of-9 on threes and led the team with 27 points.
  • He also posted a team-high 23-point effort in UCF's 95-89 win at Miami on Nov. 13.
  • Green was solid in year two for the Knights during the 2020-21 season, averaging 11.3 points per game, which ranked 17th in the conference and third on the team.
  • The Charlotte, North Carolina product also led the Knights with 53 made 3-pointers in 2020-21 and ranked seventh in the league with 2.3 made threes per game. 
  • Green was also monumental in UCF's 86-74 win over then 15th-rated Florida State last season as he knocked down six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 20 points against the Seminoles.
  • In his freshman season in 2020-21, Green set a UCF freshman record with 68 made 3-pointers.
  • He led The American with 41.7 percent shooting from 3-point range and 2.3 threes made per game.

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