Game Notes - 03 - Cal StGame Notes - 03 - Cal St

Men's Hoops Looks to Bounce Back Against Cal State Fullerton

by Ken Landis

ORLANDO – The UCF men’s basketball team returns home after going toe-to-toe with No. 13 Miami, as the Knights host Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night before heading north for the Jacksonville Classic over the weekend.

Date: Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Addition Financial Arena; Orlando, Fla.
TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+
Talent: Austin Lyon (PxP), Mike O'Donnell (Analyst)
Radio: FM 96.9/AM 740 The Game
Talent: Marc Daniels (PxP), Taylor Young (Analyst)
Live Stats: click here


  • Junior guard Jaylin Sellers is making quite an impression on Knight Nation to begin the season, scoring 23 points in the opener and then earning a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double at Miami. Sellers’ 23-points on opening night were just one shy of tying his career high, and he now boasts eight career 20+ point games. UCF has now had a player score 23 points in back-to-back season openers, as Taylor Hendricks posted 23 through two overtimes on 11/7/22 against UNC-Asheville. Hendricks also tallied a double-double in his second career game, just as Sellers did in his second game as a Knight. Hendricks scored 16 points and pulled in 12 rebounds against FSU on 11/11/22. Last year, three Knights accomplished consecutive 20 point games. CJ Kelly scored three consecutive 20+ point games (21 vs. SMU, 28 vs. Memphis and 21 at Florida) in the postseason, while Ithiel Horton had back-to-back 21 (vs. SMU, 1/8/23) and 30 (vs. Memphis 1/11/23) point games and Taylor Hendricks had 21 (at Cincinnati, 2/7/23) and 23 (at Wichita State, 2/8/23).
  • UCF has forced 21 turnovers per game through its first two contests, a mark that is ranked eighth best in the nation. The Knights also rank in the top 50 in steals, checking in at 23 with 11.5 steals per game. The Black and Gold’s defense impressed on opening night, generating 24 turnovers and 16 steals. The turnovers were the most since forcing 24 turnovers at Memphis on 2/16/23.  The 16 steals marked the first time the Knights recorded 16 steals since a bout at Cincinnati on 2/19/20. The Knights added 18 forced turnovers and 11 steals at Miami on 11/10/23. UCF’s defense held the Panthers to just four points during the final four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half in the opening night victory.
  • Junior guard Darius Johnson tallied his 200th career assist, passing the ball to Nils Machowski for a three-pointer at Miami to cut the deficit to nine at the time. Johnson recorded 106 of those 200 assists last season in 25 games played on the year. He is 68 assists away from a tie of 10th place on UCF’s career assists leaderboard, a spot currently held by Daiquan Walker (2012-16). The all-time assists leader at UCF is Sinua Phillips (1990-94) who tallied 531.
  • UCF has made a habit of protecting Addition Financial Arena under head coach Johnny Dawkins, going 83-27 at home. Dawkins has won seven of eight season-opening contests, stringing together six consecutive to begin his Knights career. UCF is now 7-1 in home-openers under Dawkins after the FIU win this year. The Knights are 12-2 in home-openers played inside Addition Financial Arena and 25-12 in home openers in the DI era. The 23-point victory over FIU was the second-highest margin of victory, just one point shy of the Knights’ 80-56 win over Nicholls in 2016.


  • The Knights and Titans have only matched up once before with UCF earning a 68-52 victory at a neutral site on Nov. 15, 2018. The win came in the first round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational in Conway, S.C., a tournament that the Knights eventually won.


  • Fullerton notched its first win of the season against NAIA opponent La Sierra Saturday at Titan Gym. Max Jones led the Titans against La Sierra with a Fullerton career-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while Donovan Oday had 15 and DJ Brewton added 14 and six assists.
  • Fullerton is coming off its second consecutive 20+ win season, something the program had accomplished only once before in its history. The Titans won their last six games of the regular season in 2022-23 to earn the No. 4 seed in the Big West Championship. In the conference tournament, Fullerton defeated No. 5 seed Hawaii in overtime in the quarterfinals and No. 1 UC Irvine in the semis before falling to No. 2 UCSB in the final. Fullerton has made the Big West championship game four of the last five tournaments.
  • The Titans return three starters from last season in junior guard and 2022-23 Big West honorable mention selection Max Jones, senior forward Vincent Lee as well as senior guard and regining Big West DPOY Tory San Antonio. In all, Fullerton returns five lettermen to this season’s squad.
  • Head Coach Dedrique Taylor, in his 11th season at the helm of the Titan program, has accomplished what no Fullerton coach has before him: leading the team to the NCAA Tournament on two separate occasions. Taylor is also the first coach in program history to have at least two 20+ win seasons (3), as well as the first to have 10+ conference wins in at least four different seasons (5).