Men's Hoops Set for In-State Showdown with Miami

Game Notes

ORLANDO – The UCF men's basketball team is set for another contest against an in-state opponent as it hosts Miami on Sunday at 5 p.m. inside Addition Financial Arena.

The Knights are victors of five straight, holding the opposition to under 60 points in each game. This is the first time since 2003-04 since a UCF squad has held teams to less than 60 points in five consecutive games and it is the first time in Johnny Dawkins' 15-year coaching career that it has occurred. The 2003-04 Black and Gold squad went on to make the NCAA Tournament that season as a 14 seed.

UCF's defense has lowered its points allowed per game mark to 58.5 which ranks 33rd nationally. Additionally, the Knights have defended the three-pointer well through the first six games, holding opponents to 25.2% from beyond the arc, the 21st lowest mark in the country. The Black and Gold are 54th in the NCAA in turnovers forced per game, snatching 16.67. Both the defense and offense have been grabbing misfires off the glass, with UCF averaging 40.5 rebounds per game, slotting them at 51st in the country and first in the American Athletic Conference.

While the defense has been locking down opponents, the offense has done its part as well. Four Knights were in double figures against Evansville on Wednesday, with Ithiel Horton leading the way with 18 points, including four three-pointers. Just behind him was Taylor Hendricks with 16 points, followed by Brandon Suggs with 11 and Thierno Sylla with 10. Jayhlon Young nearly hit double digits as well, finishing the night with nine points, going a perfect three-for-three from the field and two-for-two from the charity stripe.

The Knights are 20-5 against opponents from the state of Florida in Johnny Dawkins' tenure at the helm of the Black and Gold. UCF's most recent victory over an in-state foe was over Florida State in the second game of the season, beating the Seminoles 68-54.

The Knights and Hurricanes met in Coral Gables last season, a contest that saw the Black and Gold bring a 95-89 victory back to Orlando. It was UCF's first victory over Miami since Nov. 21, 2013 and saw the Knights post 95 points for the first time since Feb. of 2019.

The Hurricanes are receiving votes in the latest edition of the AP poll. They enter the game with a 5-1 record, with their lone loss against Maryland. The Terps weren't ranked when they beat Miami 88-70 in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff but currently sit at No. 23 in the AP poll. The Hurricanes reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season, the first occurrence in their history. They finished 16th in the coaches poll at year's end, their fourth highest finish.

Miami's Isaiah Wong leads the team in scoring with an average of 14.3 points per game. Just behind him is Norchad Omier with 14.0 points a game and Jordan Miller, averaging 13.7 a contest. Wong needs just two points to climb into Miami's top 15 all-time scorers.

UCF Assistant Coach Kevin Norris hails from Miami, a four-year point guard who played for the Hurricanes from 1994-98. He remains the program's all-time leader in steals with 208 and in consecutive starts with 108. He is second in Miami's history with 493 assists. He was a member of the 1994-95 Big East All Rookie Team and was the only player to lead the Hurricanes in assists in four consecutive years.

A win would mean UCF is off to its best start since the 2018-19 season, a year in which the Knights made their last NCAA Tournament appearance.

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