It was a tight-knit matchup on Thursday night at the CFE Arena between the UCF Knights and the Eckerd College Tritons, but UCF pulled out all the stops in the second half as they prevailed by a score of 76-59.
The second game of the season marked the second time a freshman led UCF in scoring. Adonys Henriquez posted 21 points and six rebounds in a team leading 37 minutes of action. The true freshman went 8 for 11 from the field, including an astounding 5 for 7 from beyond the arc.
"Adonys can really shoot the ball. He had the hot hand tonight, so we had to try to find a way to get him the ball," head coach Donnie Jones said. "Those were some big shots."
Sophomore Brandon Goodwin's name echoed through the stadium over the loudspeaker over the course of the night. He finished the night with 10 points, four assists and four boards, proving that he can continue to be an all-around player the Knights can depend on.
"He brings toughness, brings energy, brings effort," Jones said about Goodwin. "He just loves to compete. It doesn't matter where you put him out there, he just plays."
Goodwin put UCF on the scoreboard in the first minute of the game with a layup that resulted from a drive through the lane.
A quarter of the way through the first half UCF jumped out to an early 17-5 lead. That lead was endorsed by two Henriquez three pointers, a pair of Goodwin layups and an alley-oop by Staphon Blair which was assisted by Goodwin
"The first one felt good, and then I made the second one, so I was like 'OK it's going to be a pretty good game,'" Henriquez said. "I just want to commend my teammates for passing me the ball. They felt like I was hot so I just kept shooting them."
Eckerd kept the game tight in the first half, though. They tied the game at 22 apiece before a dunk by Shaheed Davis regained the lead. It wouldn't be quite enough scoring in the first half for UCF as Eckerd took a 37-35 lead into the locker room.
After turning the ball over 11 times during the first half, UCF managed to limit its turnovers to three in the second half.
"Coach really harped on it at halftime," Kasey Wilson said about the turnover issue.
Much like the season opener against Stetson, the second half proved to be the Knights' comfort zone. They managed to put 41 points on the board in the final 20 minutes of play while limiting the Tritons to just 22.
"The second half I thought we responded the way we can play," Jones said. "We came in[to] the second half tied for a while, and we separated our self defensively."
UCF now leads the all-time series against Eckerd with an 18-2 record.
The Knights have a few days off before they take the court again on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. against USC Upstate.