UCF's first exhibition game of the season was up-tempo and foul-heavy as the Knights pummeled the Flagler Saints 96-70 on Tuesday night.
UCF was not as defensively sound as it would have hoped but still managed to walk away with the win.
"I'm pretty sure he's [Coach Jones] going to be on us about defense tomorrow," junior Staphon Blair said.
On the other side of the ball, it was the solid offensive performance that the key factor in the Knights' victory. After the half, UCF outscored Flagler 56-35. The Saints weren't able to match UCF's efficiency from the field as the Knights went 60.3 percent and made 37.5 percent three-pointers. The Saints had more opportunities but struggled to find their offensive groove going 27-for-78 (34.6 percent) from the field and connecting on just 25.9 percent for three-pointers.
Newcomers to the team, junior Shaheed Davis and freshman BJ Taylor, each had stand out performances to in their debuts.
Taylor played 28 minutes and led the Knights' offense with 23 points along with eight boards. He said the coaches told him to be aggressive, and the home-grown player did just that in his first collegiate contest. Taylor also got a boost from playing with his family and friends in the stands watching him.
"I'm from Orlando and I grew up here so it was a very exciting experience for me. I was really focused on playing the right way, getting my teammates the ball and getting the win more than anything," Taylor said.
Davis finished the with a double-double racking up 16 points and a team-high 11 rebounds on the night. He went 7-of-10 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.
Blair went 7-for-11 from the field for 17 points and recorded a block in his 22 minutes of play.
Sophomore Justin McBride got the student section engaged in the first half but, recovering from a sprained ankle, only saw the court in 13 minutes of action. He tallied seven points, five rebounds and two blocks in his short session
Head coach Donnie Jones has a lot of confidence in the young men on the roster this season and was pleased with the adjustments the team made after the first half.
"I thought the second half we shared the ball much better. We ended with 20 assists, which is always our goal. We also shot well in the second half at 76 percent. We eventually wore them down and made some adjustments at halftime," Jones said.