Knights strike gold in California with defense
Johnny Dawkins couldn’t wait to show his team what it had just accomplished on the other end of the country.
The Knights (5-2) concluded their three-game visit to California last weekend with a 76-55 victory over the Charleston Cougars in the Wooden Legacy tournament.
In that win, the Knights defense limited Charleston to just 37.3% shooting, a season low for any UCF opponent. Dawkins wants his players to realize just how successful the Knights can be when they are locked in on defense.
“I thought it was one of our best defensive efforts this year,” Dawkins said Friday. “I really wanted to kind of emphasize that our execution offensively was good, but our defensive execution was terrific.”
That defense will be put to the test again Saturday, when UCF hosts the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders (2-6). Tipoff is scheduled for noon at Addition Financial Arena.
Although NJIT ranks at or near No. 300 among the 350 Division I teams in field-goal percentage and scoring offense, the Knights must always account for guard Zach Cooks.
The 5-foot-9 dynamo is averaging 23.3 points per game —
UCF forward Collin Smith is the Knights’ leading scorer this season as he is averaging 15.4 points per game.