The UCF Knights men’s basketball team evened its record at 1-1 thanks to a 68-54 triumph over the in-state foe Florida State Seminoles. How they did it is honestly incredible.
When a college basketball team wins the rebounding edge, that’s great. Win by 10, awesome!
Win by 30? What’s the best word for that? How about astonishing? The final tally for rebounding was 52-to-22 in UCF’s favor.
That’s about effort and utilizing good technique, play after play. Across the roster, hats off to the Knights that deserved credit for rebounding the basketball at a truly elite level. As for the action, there were several interesting notes about the game.
Train UCF guard Darin Green, Jr. knocked in 17 points, but only one other Seminole – Cam’Ron Fletcher – reached double figures as well with 11 points. UCF held FSU to just 39.3% shooting from the floor.
The game flow was also unique. After the Noles jumped out to an 8-4 lead, UCF started to assert itself on the boards and defensively. That led to more total shots for UCF, 63-to-56, as well as an advantage at the foul line, knocking down 11 free throws to FSU’s four.
Jaylon Young’s 3-point bucket with 15:08 remaining in the first half was the first lead the Knight’s took. Sans FSU tying the score at 13 from FSU’s Cameron Corhen hitting a triple of his own, UCF did not relinquish that lead the rest of the evening.
The game did stay close throughout the first half, but it was more about consistency for the Knights than anything else.
To help that lead gradually grow, star freshman Taylor Hendricks was active on both ends of the court including knocking down jump shots from behind the arc. Hendricks, in fact, was 2-of-3 from distance and finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
With just over two minutes remaining in the first half, Ithiel Horton knocked down a three to give UCF a 37-29 advantage over FSU. That was during a stretch where the Knights’ defense held the Seminoles in check, as the Noles did not score during the final 4:45 of the first stanza of the game.
Brandon Suggs‘ made layup with 1:15 left in the half made it 39-29 UCF on top of FSU, and that ended the first half scoring.
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The second half saw UCF get to the basket, with Hendricks and Horton getting layups to start the scoring for the Knights. With 16:47 remaining, the layup by Hendricks made the score 44-31 in favor of UCF. It was the defense that mattered more, however.
FSU’s first bucket of the second half gave them 31 total points. That was with 19:27 to go in the game. The Seminoles did not score another basket until Green hit a 3-point shot with 14:01 remaining. That made the score UCF 48 and FSU 34.
The Knights were in control.
FSU did not reach the 40-point plateau until the 11:56 mark of the second half, and did not make it to the 50-point mark until 3:18 remained in the game. That leads back to the overall theme of the knight.
Florida State took a shot, missed, and UCF rebounded the basketball. Total domination by the Knights over the Seminoles on the backboards. That point could’ve been reiterated another five times and it would have been justified.
Bottom line, once UCF went up 42-31 with 18:05 remaining in the game, it never led by less than 11 points again. UCF dominated FSU for the vast majority of the game, especially on the backboards, and head coach Johnny Dawkins, his coaching staff, and all the players, deserved to be given praise for their efforts. Here are a few individual points:
*For UCF, Jayhlon Young hit both of his 3-point attempts and finished with 17 points to lead the Knights. Along with Hendricks, he was the best offensive player for UCF.
*UCF’s bench knocked home 17 points, but more importantly were a prime factor with the defensive effort. The bench also contributed 16 total rebounds.
*Lahat Thioune was responsible for 10 of those rebounds off the bench. Having a big man to backup Michael Durr and be a presence on the post in general played a vital role in the final score.
*The one area UCF needed to do better would be turnovers. There were 20 to be exact.
*UCF’s next basketball game is Nov. 14 against West Illinois at 7 pm inside Addition Financial Arena.
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