UCF Beats Bearcats on Senior Knight

Box Score (pdf)

ORLANDO—Darius Perry, Dre Fuller Jr. and Cheikh Mbacke Diong played their final home games for UCF Wednesday night at Addition Financial Arena—and Brandon Mahan would have, too, had he been healthy.
Perry, Mbacke Diong, sophomore Isaiah Adams and junior C.J. Walker made sure there was something to celebrate in the Knights' last men's basketball appearance in front of home fans for the 2021-22 season.
UCF's comfortable 75-61 victory over visiting Cincinnati marked its fifth in seven games (and fourth in the last five) and lengthened the Knights' lead over the Bearcats to a game and a half in the American Athletic Conference battle for league tournament seeding.
Walker paced the victors with 13 points. Adams had a dozen, one off his season high. Perry and Mbacke Diong each added 11. Freshman guard Darius Johnson led the Knights with seven rebounds and five assists.
"It was fun out there," said Perry. "We just said we've got to win tonight to get where we want to be. We played with our hearts."
Working against a 13-point halftime deficit, the Bearcats three times cut the advantage to seven points, the last time at 47-40. But the Knights built back the lead to as many as 19 points, the last time at 73-54.
Senior guard David DeJulius headlined the Cincinnati side with 16 points. Junior forward Jeremiah Davenport had 15 points and a dozen rebounds.
Perry scored UCF's first six points. Then a 7-0 run by the home team pushed the Knight advantage to 18-11 at the 11:47 mark. UCF connected on 10 of its first 17 field-goal attempts—with the 38-25 halftime score qualifying as the Knights' largest lead of the opening half. UCF in the first half had 20 points in the paint, 16 off the bench and 16 off 11 Bearcat turnovers (compared to only three turnovers for the Knights).
"I think it was maybe our most complete game—everyone played well," said UCF coach Johnny Dawkins. "We're playing well, and we can even play better. I liked our assist-to-turnover ratio.  I'm just happy to see us headed in the right direction.
"I'm proud of what the seniors did—leaving their legacies behind. They've been very mature."
UCF finished with a .476 field-goal shooting mark—compared to .367 for Cincinnati. The Knights nailed five of their 11 second-half three-point tries.
Mahan sat out his second straight game after injuring an ankle last Thursday in a game versus Houston.
After more than a week off UCF (17-9, 9-7) finishes its regular season with a pair of road games—March 3 at Tulane (8 p.m. EST on ESPN+) and March 6 at Tulsa (2 p.m. EST on ESPNU).
UCF finished 13-3 at home this year.
Cincinnati (17-11, 7-8) plays host to South Florida Saturday—then ends the regular season with road games at Houston and SMU.