UCF knocks off No. 15 Florida State

The UCF men’s basketball team had not played a game since Dec. 6, but that did not stop the Knights from rolling into the Donald L. Tucker Center and taking down 15th-ranked Florida State 86-74 Saturday night.

UCF (2-1) defeated the Seminoles (4-1) for the first time in 12 all-time meetings and snapped a number of Florida State’s impressive streaks.

  • UCF snapped Florida State’s 27-game home winning streak
  • UCF snapped Florida State’s 41-game non-conference home winning streak
  • UCF snapped Florida State’s 31-game winning streak in the state of Florida

It also marked UCF’s fifth win over a ranked opponent under head coach Johnny Dawkins since he took over for the 2016-17 season and the third time the Knights have topped a ranked team on the road under Dawkins.

A trio of Knights led the way on Saturday, as senior Brandon Mahan scored 32, freshman Isaiah Adams had 22, and sophomore Darin Green Jr. added 20.

It was a career high for Mahan, who like in the win over Auburn, did most of his damage down the stretch. The senior scored 24 of his 32 in the second half, was 10-of-13 from the field and went a perfect 10-for-10 from the line.

Mahan also went 2-for-4 from 3-point range, grabbed six rebounds and dished out two assists in the victory.

“My teammates told me I had a mismatch, so I attacked,” Mahan said after the game. “We have to keep being consistent, executing the game plan and going hard for 40 minutes straight.”

Added Dawkins, “You saw a glimpse of (who Mahan can be) tonight. He has the ability to make plays with the basketball in his hands for himself or his teammates. He can knock down shots from beyond the arc. I’m happy to see him starting to find his way.”

Adams, who was impressive for a freshman in his first two outings, was even better on Saturday. The 2020 Florida Mr. Basketball scored 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor and 9-of-12 shooting from the free throw line, adding a game-high eight rebounds, two assists, and three steals.

Green, meanwhile, did what he did all of last season. The sophomore sharpshooter was 6-of-9 from long distance, matching his best for made threes and finishing with 20 points.

“I’ve coached a number of great shooters and he’s right up there as one of the top shooters I’ve coached,” Dawkins said of Green. “He can get it going and two threes become seven threes really quick. He’s always working on his craft. He puts in the work and it’s good to see him rewarded.”

UCF outrebounded the Seminoles 32-25 and shot 50.0 percent from the field for the game. The Knights were also 47.4 percent from long distance and most impressively 88.5 percent from the free throw line, finishing 23-of-26.

The Knights outscored Florida State 26-8 in fast break points, 32-22 in paint points, 21-16 on points off turnovers and 12-11 in second-chance points.

C.J. Walker had a game-high three blocked shots, four points and three rebounds. Dre Fuller Jr. had five rebounds and four assists with two crucial points down the stretch.

It was also the debut of Louisville transfer Darius Perry, who returned from injury Saturday night. The points guard played 18 minutes off the bench, scoring six points and grabbing one steal in the victory.