Life on the road can be tough, and it's proving true for the Knights men's basketball team. The team has dropped five of six contests away from the comforts of the CFE Arena.
The trouble for UCF is not putting up points, it's defending the bucket on their own end. As of Jan. 28, UCF is averaging 71.5 points per game on the road compared with 66.8 at home. The problem is that it's letting in an average of 82.5 while setting up in the visiting locker room in comparison with 67.5 in familiar terrain.
Head coach Donnie Jones is happy with the way his team has carried itself on the road, especially when taking into consideration that many of its members are still underclassmen.
"Getting on the road is obviously always a challenge," Jones said before a two-game road stretch against Memphis and Connecticut. "When you have young guys, you want to see continual progress because it just helps with confidence. It helps with growth."
Jones knows they're still adjusting to the concept of life on the road, but taking things one game at a time is the best way to do so when treading through uncharted territory.
"It's like being in the forest and you're trying to get to the end — all those trees are there. Let's just focus on chopping the first tree down then we'll get to the next tree," he said before the same road stretch.
Jones' methods are sinking into sophomore Justin McBride as he had the same sort of mentality about away games before the team's first trip to Florida State.
"Road trip," McBride jokingly said. "Every game we have to go as hard as we can for as long as we can."
Myles Davis, one of two seniors on the team, dug into his memory of prior trips and knows the team can't take anything lightly, especially when they're a long way from home.
"[We have to] make sure we keep our heads together and that we go in there prepared — that's any road trip," Davis said before the team's first two away games of the season.
With five out its last 10 games of the season being played away from home, the team will have to buckle down on defense if they aim to finish the season above .500 in the win column.
The Knights' next road challenges will come in two consecutive games, one at SMU on Jan. 31 and the other on Feb. 7.
Jarrod Heil is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future. Find him on Twitter@JHeil11.