UCF men’s basketball tramples over USF in War on I-4

UCF defeated USF 86-64 on Jan. 17. Courtesy UCF

The UCF men’s basketball team coasted to victory in the War on I-4 at home on Tuesday, defeating USF 86-64 in front of an announced crowd of 5,765.

Redshirt senior guard Matt Williams led the way for the Knights with a career-high 38 points. He also went 11-for-21 from beyond the arc, making more threes than the entire Bulls lineup and setting the UCF and AAC record for made threes in a game.

“If anybody gets going like that, especially a shooter like that, you got to get them the ball,” redshirt junior forward A.J. Davis said. “Matt’s one of the best shooters in the country … we believe in his ability to shoot and we know how hard he works.”

Amidst Williams’ scorching hot performance, the Knights (14-4, 5-1 American) still managed to have four different players score in double figures, including Davis who recorded 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

UCF held USF (6-11, 0-6) to 36 percent shooting in the second half and 42 percent for the game, upping their defensive intensity after allowing the Bulls to shoot 50 percent from the field in the first half.

“I try to remind our guys of what we’ve done well and let’s not get away from it,” coach Johnny Dawkins said referring to defensive principles. “It should be becoming habit by now; we’re more than halfway through the season—a good reminder in talking about those things usually helps our guys.”

UCF hopped out to a 10-2 lead to open the game and, thanks to Williams’ performance, never looked back. The guard was lights out from deep, scoring 20 of the team’s 42 points for the half.

“When Nate [Laing] threw me the ball in the corner and I felt the big closing out slow; once I shot it and it went in, I realized that I was probably going to have a good night,” Williams said.

While the Knights allowed the Bulls to shoot well early on, they were able to force them into committing nine turnovers which led to 14 UCF points. UCF led by as many as 17 in the first half but USF responded with a 12-3 run to get themselves back into the game with UCF leading 42-30 at halftime.

UCF will have a chance to match last season’s conference win mark on the road versus Memphis on Sunday Jan. 22 at FedEx Forum at 4 p.m.