Men's Hoops Visits No. 23 Texas Tech for Saturday Showdown

by Ken Landis
UCF Game Notes Texas Tech Game Notes Big 12 Conference Notes

LUBBOCK, Texas – The UCF men’s basketball team looks to keep its momentum rolling from it’s 74-63 victory over No. 23/24 Oklahoma, as the Knights visit No. 23/23 Texas Tech on Saturday for a 4 p.m. ET tip. The game is the first of a two-game road trip, as UCF will head to Provo, Utah after to face No. 21/19 BYU.

The Black and Gold never trailed their last time on the floor, leading the Sooners wire-to-wire in UCF’s fourth win in Big 12 Conference play. It was the second such time that the Knights have led throughout the game in league play, beating West Virginia and building a lead as high as 21 points. The Knights constructed a 17-point lead in the win over the ranked Oklahoma squad, continuing a trend UCF has experienced as of late. The Knights have now led at halftime and by double digits at some point in each of the last four games. That has flipped the script from UCF’s first five games in the league in which it trailed at halftime and by double digits during each contest.

The Knights win over the Sooners is the second over a ranked opponent this season, joining the victory over No. 3 Kansas. It’s just the second time in program history that UCF has beat two ranked opponents in a single season, the other coming during the 2018-19 campaign. The Black and Gold beat No. 6 Houston on the road that season before returning home to beat No. 19 Cincinnati in back-to-back games, separated by just five days. UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins is now responsible for seven of UCF’s nine all-time wins over ranked foes. Four of those have come at Addition Financial Arena.

The victory over Oklahoma goes down in history as career win number 300 for Coach Dawkins, becoming one of six active Big 12 head coaches to reach the milestone. Coach Dawkins was shown a video in the locker room after the game of players and coaches he has worked with in the past, all congratulating him on his achievement. Some of the names included Mike Krzyzewski, Jay Bilas, Tacko Fall, his son Aubrey Dawkins, B.J. Taylor, Mike O’Donnell and many more.

Celebrating 300 with Coach Dawkins - Locker Room Video Tribute

Jaylin Sellers has a milestone of his own within reach, currently sitting at 988 career points. At a scoring pace of 17.2 points per game this season, a mark that is fifth in the Big 12, Sellers is likely to net the 12 points necessary to hit the 1,000-point threshold.

Speaking of scorers, Antwann Jones was sharp against Oklahoma, going six-for-seven from the field, including three-for-four from three-point land, resulting in a season-high 15 points in his second start of the year.

The Knights were sharp on the defensive end of the ball in the win, posting the team’s highest number of blocked shots and steals in a Big 12 game thus far, tallying nine and 12, respectively. Omar Payne was responsible for four of those blocked shots. Ibrahima Diallo added three of his own rejections while Shemarri Allen was responsible for the other two. Allen contributed two steals while Jaylin Sellers had three and Darius Johnson led the team with four.

Texas Tech was out to a blazing hot start in Big 12 play, going 5-1 to start. Since then, the team has dropped three in a row, losing by single digits in each one.

Pop Isaacs is the focal point of the Red Raider squad, leading in scoring with a mark of 17.6 points per game. He is one of five members of Texas Tech to score in double figures as he is joined by Joe Toussaint (12.5 points per game), Devan Cambridge (10.5), Warren Washington (10.3) and Chance McMillian (10.2). Washington is a presence in the paint on both ends of the floor, swatting aside 34 shots and reeling in 7.6 rebounds a game.

The Red Raiders are one of the country's best three-point shooting teams, making 37.6% of their looks from beyond the arc, a mark that is second-best in the Big 12 and ranks 23rd in the nation. They make nearly nine three-pointers per game, averaging 8.8 per contest. Texas Tech also takes care of business from the charity stripe, sinking 77.5% of their free throws, leading the Big 12 and ranking No. 16 in Division I.

Saturday’s matchup will be the first time the two sides meet on the hardwood. UCF is 2-2 against teams they have faced for the first time this season while Texas Tech is 1-2 to this point against the Big 12 newcomers.

Men's Hoops Weekly Press Conference - February 8, 2024