UCF 77, Charleston 56 quotes & notes

UCF Coach Johnny Dawkins – “I think this was one of our most complete efforts.  We beat a very good Charleston team; they’ve played very well this tournament and played us well at our place.  It was going to take an effort like this to be successful and our guys really stepped up.”

“We got a little fortunate too because they missed a couple easy ones that they normally make.  It was a much better start than we had at home, there they made their first seven shots in a row so for us to turn it around was a really good start.”

“I think we have a very good team as long as we continue to play the right way.  Our strength is in our numbers and everyone is comfortable in their role.  Right now, everyone is being a star in their role and that allows us to play the way we want to play.”

“I can’t wait to get back and show our guys the film and talk about what our standards are. We want to play like this on a more consistent basis.  I know it’s difficult, but this is what you want to strive for.  Our guys were excellent tonight”

“I told our players it reminds me of being in the NBA where you’re in the playoffs and you play the same team again.  I think our guys really bought into that analogy and they played well.”

“Collin (Smith) has a really good basketball IQ and it starts there.  He really does think the game out well and plays at his own pace.  He rarely gets sped up and he is one of the best finishers I’ve ever coached.  When you can do that consistently, you can be very effective.”

Charleston Coach Earl Grant – (Thoughts on the game) “I’m very disappointed that we couldn’t play a little bit better. Give Central Florida some credit. They have a big guy that really dominated the game. They got the ball down to him and it was hard to slow him down. When we were able to slow him down, it led to some open 3’s. They opened up with back-to-back 3’s in the first half, and the same thing happened in the second half. Our energy level needed to be better, obviously we can play a lot better than we showed today. But I know this team has a lot of fight in it. We’ll make our corrections and continue to move on in this journey.” (The positives for this experience) “We played a lot of guys. Anytime you play three games in four days, you want to at least play 9 or 10 guys. We were able to get our freshmen a lot of experience. We can go back and watch the film and see positives and negatives to help them grow. We’re not as bad as we showed today, and I’ll give Central Florida some of that credit. We needed to be better obviously, but we just have to keep working and growing.”

Wooden Chips
• This was the first game this year’s Wooden Legacy in which a team had a wire-to-wire victory… last year’s tournament featured two games in which there were no lead changes.
• The final margin of 21 points makes this the 20th game in Wooden Legacy history that was decided by 20 or more points.
• This was the second meeting between these two teams this season already… Charleston leads 12-7, but UCF has now four straight.

UCF (5-2)
• UCF has now won 24 of the last 50 games when scoring at least 77 points… UCF has now won 32 of its last 35 games when holding opponents to 56 or fewer points.
• Collin Smith just missed out on a double-double, recording 19 points and nine rebounds… the 19 points is his fifth most of his career (fourth most at UCF), while the nine rebounds is a career high.
• Dre Fuller Jr. scored 13 points, a new career best for the first-year player… his previous high was 11 points, which also came against Charleston.
• Brandon Mahan contributed 12 points, his fourth game in double digits while at UCF… in the other three games with the Knights he has scored a total of just four points.
• Frank Bertz came off the bench to score 10 points, the fourth time he has done so in his career.

College of Charleston (4-4)
• The 21-point loss was Charleston’s worst loss since losing by 22 at Miami (Fla.) on 12/19/15.
• For the second straight game, Charleston only had one player score in double figures… in the first game of the tournament four Cougars scored 10 or more points.
• Grant Riller led the team with 17 points, his 36th straight game with at least 10 points.