Men's Hoops Hits 11 Triples in 75-49 Win Over Tarleton

Stats (PDF)

ORLANDO – In the face of an uneven schedule with the 2022 fall semester drawing to a close, the UCF Knights men's basketball team has managed to stay true to its ways during a period of just three games in three weeks.

On the strength of a dominant second half and an overall season-high 11 three-point field goals, the Knights won their seventh game of their last eight and their second straight, 75-49, over the visiting Tarleton Texans at Addition Financial Arena Sunday afternoon.
"Everyone we play is always going to be a very competitive tough team, and we played another one tonight," said head coach Johnny Dawkins. "Looking at their first half, I thought they were very competitive. They had to play some guys so many minutes, several guys went 40 minutes, and that's just hard. We were picking up and pressing, and wearing teams down that do that, and I thought we wore them down a little bit in the second half."
Battling through a close first half UCF won by just three points, the Knights had a great feel from beyond the arc during the first 20 minutes and quickly put it to use. Following a pair of two-point shots by Michael Durr and Ithiel Horton that closed UCF's deficit to 6-4 just over three minutes in, Horton drilled UCF's first triple of the afternoon to give his team its first lead.
The 3-pointer marked the first of six straight for the Knights, followed by two from Hendricks, another from Horton and two more courtesy of Jayhlon Young. UCF's six first-half triples tied a season high for 3-point field goals in either half of a game, a mark the team also achieved during its Nov. 20 win over Evansville and Nov. 23 victory against Evansville.
The flurry of threes aided the Knights in staying afloat during an otherwise challenging offensive stretch that saw the team score nine points in 10 minutes of play and trail 23-22 with just over four minutes to go.
Inside the final 4:20 of the first half, the Knights built a bit of offensive momentum upon their strong defensive play, as the Texans managed just two more field goals the remainder of the half. Sophomore Darius Johnson drained three of his four tries from the free throw line and UCF added two more field goals from Young and Durr to open a 30-27 advantage at halftime.
A team that had outscored its opposition by an aggregate 47 points in the second half entering Sunday's action, UCF again came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders to begin the final 20 minutes of play.
Hendricks, who on Dec. 5 became the second player in AAC history to be awarded three straight conference Rookie of the Week honors, scored six quick points including his third three-pointer and the team's seventh. Horton and Durr combined for three more before Tarleton managed its first two points of the half almost four minutes in.
With a team-leading 16 points Sunday afternoon, Hendricks has scored at least 15 points in seven of his first nine games this season and is averaging 15.6 points, which ranks 10th in The American, and 7.1 rebounds per game. He also recorded his second straight game shooting six-of-seven from the field, missing only one try.
"He's a terrific young player, you see him getting better and growing in every game. The thing I like about him is he's very coachable, and he really does have a 'next play' mentality. That's why he finds such consistency in his game, is he has a short memory."
Horton recorded his third triple of the game to restore the Knights' 10-point advantage at 42-32 with 14:40 to play, followed quickly by C.J. Kelly's first of the game and the Knights' ninth. UCF later tied its season high with its 10th triple of the game courtesy of Young, who put his team in complete control with a 52-37 lead and just over 10 minutes to play.
On the heels of a 22-5 Knights run that saw Young pace the squad with seven points, freshman forward Thierno Sylla came off the bench and nailed UCF's 11th 3-point shot that gave the program a new season high in the category and its most since its 11 triples on March 11, 2022 against Memphis.
Horton, Hendricks and Young each made three three-point field goals in addition to the one each made by Sylla and Kelly, and UCF's 47.8 success rate (11-of-23) from beyond the arc is its second highest of the young campaign. Behind Hendricks, Horton and Young also reached double digits in scoring with 15 points apiece.

With UCF's four-game homestand in the books, the Knights will hit the road for their first true road game of the season against Ole Miss Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m.