Game Notes - 01 - FIUGame Notes - 01 - FIU

Men's Hoops Hosts FIU to Tip 2023-24 Campaign

by Ken Landis
Game Notes Media Guide

ORLANDO – The UCF men’s basketball team is set to tip off its inaugural campaign as a member of the Big 12 Conference, hosting FIU at 8 p.m. on Monday for an in-state showdown.

Date: Monday, Nov. 6, 2023
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Addition Financial Arena; Orlando, Fla.
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


  • UCF has a total of 10 newcomers on this year’s roster. Of the newcomers, four are fifth-year players, two are seniors, one is a junior and three are freshmen. UCF’s newcomers for the 2023-24 season that played during 2022-23 combined for 56.5 points per game. Shemarri Allen, a transfer from UMKC, was named to the All-Summit League Second Team and All-Defensive Team last season, all while scoring 17 points per game. Jaylin Sellers was named All-MAC Third Team at Ball State last year, scoring 13.5 points per game and shooting 45% from three-point land. Freshmen Mintautas Mockus and Nils Machowski come to UCF after playing basketball in Lithuania and Germany, respectively, while rookie Comeh Emuobor was a consensus top 200 recruit entering the college scene. Other transfers rostered are Omar Payne (transferred in from Jacksonville), Ibrahima Diallo (San Jose State), DeMarr Langford Jr. (Boston College), Marchelus Avery (New Mexico State) and Antwann Jones, who was inactive last season.
  • UCF has found success against in-state opponents under head coach Johnny Dawkins, going 22-8 since his arrival against teams from Florida. The Knights finished 3-3 against Florida foes last season with wins over Florida, Florida State and Stetson. Arguably one of the bigger victories last season was UCF’s 67-49 victory over Florida in Gainesville during the 2023 National Invitation Tournament, which was the first victory on the road against the Gators in program history. It was the first meeting between the two teams since 2012. The Knights were the only team to hold Florida below 50 points during 2022-23 while the 49 Gator points were the least they’ve scored at home since Jan. 13, 1962 when they beat Auburn 43-40. The Knights will match up with back-to-back in-state opponents, hosting FIU and traveling to No. 13 Miami to begin 2023-24. In total, UCF will face six teams from the state of Florida this season. The Black and Gold have already beat Florida, Florida State, Miami, Stetson, South Florida, Jacksonville and Bethune-Cookman under Johnny Dawkins’ remarkable run through the state.
  • UCF has made a habit of protecting Addition Financial Arena under head coach Johnny Dawkins, going 82-27 at home. Coach Dawkins had started all six of his previous seasons as head coach with a win on Opening Knight but saw the streak snapped with 2022-23’s 98-95 double overtime loss to UNC Asheville. UCF is 6-1 in home openers under Dawkins. The Knights are 11-2 in home openers played inside Addition Financial Arena and 24-12 in home openers in the DI era.
  • There were many memorable moments for UCF over the summer. The program had its first lottery pick at the NBA Draft, officially moved to the Big 12 Conference, took a 10-day trip to Italy and saw head coach Johnny Dawkins enshrined in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
    • June 22 - Taylor Hendricks became UCF’s first lottery pick and first rounder, going ninth overall to the Utah Jazz in the 2023 NBA Draft. He became the Knights’ fifth former student-athlete to play in the NBA when he participated in Utah’s season opener against Sacramento. Hendricks was also UCF’s first one-and-done.
    • July 1 - UCF officially became a part of the Big 12 after spending 10 seasons in the American Athletic Conference. Before that, the Knights were a part of Conference USA (2005-13), Atlantic Sun (1993-05), Sun Belt (1991-92) and American South (1990-91) in their Division I era. UCF won all four of its conference titles in the Atlantic Sun.
    • Aug. 6-16 - UCF took a tour of Italy, playing four games over the course of the 10-day trip and winning all four, giving a squad with 10 newcomers and 17 total student-athletes time to gel on and off the court.
    • Aug. 30 - UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins is enshrined into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame for his days as a player at Duke. He was inducted alongside his legendary coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Dawkins played for the Blue Devils from 1982-83 through 1985-86, earning consensus All-America honors twice and was named the 1986 Naismith National Player of the Year and was named All-American as a freshman in 1983. Dawkins later went on to coach with “Coach K” for 10 seasons, winning a national championship in the process.
  • UCF teams under Dawkins have been outstanding defensively, finishing ranked in the top 50 nationally in scoring defense in four of his seven seasons, including two top-10 finishes. Last season, UCF was ranked top 50 in multiple defensive categories, ranking 29th in opponent three-point percentage (30.7%), 38th in turnovers forced per game (14.82) and 47th in scoring defense (65.5). The Knights held opponents to 60 points or less in five straight contests at one point during the 2022-23 season. It was a historic streak, marking the first time in Dawkins’ 15-year coaching career that any of his teams had accomplished the feat. Prior to the Black and Gold’s historic streak, the last time UCF had accomplished the feat of holding teams to under 60 points in five straight games was during 2003-04, which was part of a 14-game winning streak that helped fuel an NCAA Tournament run.


  • Arturo Dean, the 2022-23 Conference USA Freshman of the Year, earned recognition to the 2023-24 CUSA Preseason All-Conference Team. Dean, a Miami native, burst onto the scene in his first season as a Panther, stuffing the stat sheet with 11.9 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game. The guard also dished out a team-high 122 assists, playing 29.7 minutes per game. Defensively, the Putnam Science Academy product led Conference USA by a wide margin with 81 steals, an average of 2.5 per game. Dean also ranked sixth in CUSA with his 3.4 assists per game. He was the first Freshman of the Year in FIU's CUSA tenure.
  • FIU finished the 2022-23 season with a record of 14-18, going 8-12 in Conference USA. The Panthers are picked seventh of nine CUSA teams in the conference's preseason poll, garnering 31 points.