The UCF men’s basketball team used a second half surge to soar past Southern Saturday afternoon at CFE Arena. The Knights outscored the Jaguars 42-28 over the final 20 minutes to win 76-60 and improve to 6-3 on the 2017-18 season.
“They’re a tough team,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said of Southern. “They are a great shooting team and they have a great inside player in (Jared) Sam. It took a heck of a defensive effort, but I’m really proud of our guys, especially in the second half. I thought we were as efficient as we’ve been all year and we are able to come away with the win.”
The efficiency on the offensive end came in the way of 28-of-53 (52.8%) shooting from the floor, the Knights’ best field goal percentage since the season opening win over Mercer. Junior center Tacko Fall was 8-of-10 overall.
“I thought Tacko was really efficient tonight,” Dawkins said. “I thought we found him and that’s something that we want to do. We want to give him the basketball when he has the opportunity to be able to receive it and make plays. His aggressiveness was there, and he’s hungry on the offensive end.”
Fall led the Knights with season highs of 18 points and nine rebounds. The big man also went 2-of-3 from the free throw line and had a steal in just 24 minutes of action.
UCF (6-3) also shared the ball the best it had all season, dishing out a yearlong best 18 assists in the victory.
Leading the way were A.J. Davis and Terrell Allen, who recorded seven and six, respectively. For Davis, playing the role of point forward much of the day, it tied a season best and was just two shy of his career high set last year.
For the point guard Allen, it continued his stellar week. The Upper Marlboro, Md., native had eight helpers in the win at No. 24 Alabama last weekend.
Maybe more importantly, neither primary ball handler turned it over more than two times on Saturday. As a team, the Knights gave it away just 13 times, tied for the second best outing on the season.
UCF also continued its improved three-point shooting on Saturday, knocking down a season high eight threes in the victory.
Djordjije Mumin, who scored a career high 11 points on three from distance at Alabama, followed it up with another career high against the Jaguars. Mumin scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.
“It’s huge for us because having someone that really stretches the defense, especially playing around our bigs, (is important),” Dawkins said. “You want someone that can stretch the D and he’s been doing that for us. He’s a confident shooter.”
Davis, Dayon Griffin, Ceasar DeJesus and Chance McSpadden also knocked down three-pointers on Saturday.
Davis finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. DeJesus had nine points, three boards and three assists. Allen and Griffin each chipped in with eight points for the Knights.
Sam led five Southern (2-7) players in double figures with 13 points and nine rebounds.
UCF will get right back to action at CFE Arena on Tuesday. The Knights host Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.