Mahan and UCF Men Never Trail to Dispatch Tulsa

Box Score (PDF)

ORLANDO—UCF fifth-year guard Brandon Mahan has scored more than his share of points and connected on his share of rainbow three-pointers for the Knights.
But on an evening when the UCF men's basketball team shot the ball effectively early and then had an impressive response for everything visiting Tulsa threw at the Knights, Mahan's performance was exquisite.
He hit his first five long-distance attempts and six of eight shots overall to go with five rebounds, four assists (and no turnovers). Mahan finished with 17 points to pace the Knights.
All those numbers enabled UCF to defeat the Golden Hurricane 76-67 Monday night in a rescheduled American Athletic Conference game at Addition Financial Arena. The game originally was slated for Jan. 8.
An early second-half surge by the visitors cut the UCF advantage to 49-44 after four minutes of play. But the Knights knocked down four of five shots to push the lead back to 13 at 59-46.
Later an 11-0 UCF run gave the Knights their largest lead at 74-55 with four minutes remaining.
"I thought it was a really good team win, and I thought Brandon did a great job leading us. He's a three-level scorer and does a lot for us to help us win," said UCF coach Johnny Dawkins.
"Everybody trusts each other to hit shots--and tonight was a great example."
Senior Darius Perry had 12 points and joined senior front-liner Cheikh Mbacke Diong with six rebounds each. Junior guard Darin Green Jr. added 11 points. Before the game Perry was presented a basketball by Dawkins recognizing his achievement in passing the career 1,000-point mark last week versus Wichita State. 
"We've got a lot of guys who can get to the bucket and score and a lot of guys who can hit the three," said freshman guard Darius Johnson, who had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists.
For the Golden Hurricane, graduate transfer Jeriah Horne had 18 points and eight rebounds, both game highs. Graduate guard Darien Jackson added 16 points coming off a career-high 21 versus Cincinnati Saturday.
UCF rolled to an early 14-5 edge, hitting four straight shots while Tulsa missed six of its first seven. The Knights later connected on eight consecutive field-goal attempts to build their advantage to 36-20--before the Hurricane rebounded with a 9-0 run of its own. UCF led 41-30 at intermission after shooting at a .567 clip (17 of 30).
Tulsa (8-16 overall, 2-11 AAC) had lost 10 of 11 until its home victory over Cincinnati Saturday.
UCF (15-8, 7-6) plays at conference front-runner Houston Thursday (9 p.m. EST on either ESPN or ESPN2 ). The Knights now are 11-3 at home—and halfway through a string of four home dates (ECU Feb. 20 and Cincinnati Feb. 23 still to come) in five games. The Knights have won three of their last four.