Bal­anced Knights bounce right back

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS MONDAY - By Iliana Limón Romero

Red-hot Dawkins scores sea­son-high 26 to spark win against Mus­tangs

UCF was frus­trated and dis­ap­pointed by a 77-68 loss to thenNo. 12 Hous­ton Thurs­day.

“We came out tight, not mak­ing plays that we nor­mally make,” Knights se­nior point guard B.J. Tay­lor said af­ter the loss. “The mes­sage for us is there is no need for us to come out tight.”

UCF em­braced that mes­sage, bouncing back with a 71-65 win at SMU Sun­day.

Aubrey Dawkins snapped out of a mini-slump and scored a sea­son-high 26 points, shoot­ing 9-of-12 over­all and 4-of-6 from 3-point range.

“I thought we did a lot of things right,” UCF coach Johnny Dawkins said af­ter the game. “I thought of­fen­sively we moved the ball well. It was ev­i­dent by 16 as­sists. We de­fended well when we had to.”

Collin Smith added 18 points, nine re­bounds and five as­sists for UCF (17-5, 7-3 Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence) while Tacko Fall added 10 points.

“Af­ter last game, he bounced back as about as good as you can,” Dawkins said of Smith. “He was ter­rific. He car­ried us dur­ing stretches of the sec­ond half. I look at the re­bounds, I look at his as­sist num­bers. He was ter­rific.”

Tay­lor, who nor­mally leads UCF with 17.1 points per game, chipped in eight points and seven as­sists. He fo­cused on set­ting up his team­mates while fac­ing heavy

de­fen­sive pres­sure from the Mus­tangs.

“He played a great floor game,” Dawkins said of Tay­lor. “They try to take things away from you and he’s our big­gest weapon, so they want to take him away. When that hap­pens, and you’re a point guard, you need to make the guys around you bet­ter.”

Jimmy Whitt Jr. scored a ca­reer-high 23 points for the Mus­tangs (12-11, 4-7), whose los­ing streak stretched to four games. Isi­aha Mike added 18 points and 10 re­bounds. Ethan Char­gois had 11 points.

UCF re­turns home to host ri­val USF on Wed­nes­day. The school is tak­ing a friendly jab at the Bulls, host­ing South Florid­ian night with a theme that cel­e­brates those who hail from Mi­ami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach coun­ties — the real South Florida.

The game will fea­ture South Florida-in­spired con­ces­sions and mu­sic. The in-game pro­mo­tions will in­clude a cin­na­mon­roll eat­ing con­test, a Cuban cof­fee flip cup and the Swap Shop Shuf­fle. The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this re­port.


UCF se­nior guard Aubrey Dawkins helped power the Knights to a 71-65 win over SMU on Sun­day.

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