DALLAS (UCFKnights.com) – Aubrey Dawkins scored a season-high 26 points, Collin Smith had a season-high 18 points with 10 rebounds, and the UCF men’s basketball team earned its third road conference win of the season, defeating SMU 71-65 in Dallas Sunday afternoon.
“I thought we did a lot of things right,” UCF head 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.”
With the win the Knights improved to 17-5 on the season and remain in third place in the American Athletic Conference Standings at 7-3.
It was just UCF’s second win at SMU in the history of the series between the two teams. The Mustangs had previously held a 7-1 advantage in games played in Dallas. It’s the Knights’ second straight overall against SMU, having set a program record for points allowed in a 52-37 home victory last season.
On Sunday, the Knights got out to a fast start thanks to Aubrey Dawkins and Tacko Fall, who scored UCF’s first 16 points of the game and gave the Black and Gold an early 16-8 advantage.
Dawkins knocked down two early three-pointers and had 14 of his 26 points in the first half, shooting 5-of-7 from the field.
Fall, meanwhile, converted two conventional three-point plays early on, making both of his free throw attempts. The big man scored all of his 10 points in the first half as the Knights led 36-28 at the break.
UCF extended its lead to 12 points multiple times early in the second half, as Smith helped lead the way. The 6-foot-11 forward scored six of the Knights’ first eight points in the final 20 minutes and knocked down all four of his attempts from the stripe.
“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.”
Smith added a game-high 10 rebounds for his fourth career double-double and third of the season. He also chipped in with a career-high five assists.
UCF, which shot 52,0 percent from the floor as a team – the seventh time this season the Knights have been at 50.0 percent or better – benefited from the superior guard play of BJ Taylor.
Taylor, who leads UCF in scoring at 17.1 points per game, had one of his best outings of the season with just eight points. It marked just the second time this year he’s failed to score in double figures, but it didn’t matter.
“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.”
Taylor had seven assists for the second straight game and recorded just two turnovers, while knocking down 2-of-4 attempts from beyond the arc.
As a team, the Knights also shot 43.8 percent from three-point range and 92.3 percent from the free throw line.
UCF will next return home to host rival South Florida in the War On I-4. The Knights and the Bulls are scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 with coverage on ESPNews.