Miami, UCF prepare for battle of experienced teams

NCAA Men's Basketball

Sixth-year senior Kameron McGusty is the type of experienced player Miami will be counting on this Saturday when the Hurricanes play host to the Central Florida Knights.

McGusty, who transferred in from Oklahoma in 2018, has played 112 collegiate games, including 65 starts.

On Tuesday night, he scored a team-high 20 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in Miami’s 77-67 win over visiting Canisius. McGusty made 8 of 14 shots, including 4 of 7 attempts from beyond the arc.

“Kam is doing everything,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said of McGusty, whose rebounds on Tuesday matched his career high. “He is handling the ball like a point guard, scoring like a shooting guard and rebounding like a forward.”

Coincidentally, one of McGusty’s previous 10-rebound games was two years ago as he helped Miami beat the UCF Knights, 79-70. McGusty also had a game-high 17 points in that game, which was played on Nov. 12, 2019.

McGusty is joined in Miami’s current starting lineup by Isaiah Wong, who made the preseason All-ACC first team; Sam Waardenburg, who sat out last season due to injury; and transfers Jordan Miller and Charlie Moore.

Meanwhile, the Knights, who defeated Robert Morris 69-59 on Wednesday night, are highly optimistic about their team. The Knights have an experienced squad full of high-leaping dunkers.

The Knights bring back almost all of their scoring and minutes played from last season, when they finished 11-12.

UCF, which scored a road upset win over Florida State last season, are led by 6-2 point guard Darius Perry, a preseason second-team All-American Athletic Conference selection.

Perry, who led the team in scoring last season (14.7), scored a game-high 18 points against Robert Morris, shooting 7 of 15 from the floor and making 4 of 7 three-pointers. He also had a game-high four assists.

The Knights have also added a 6-11 transfer in Cheikh Mbacke Diong, a Senegal native who was a team captain at UNLV. The center had a team-high five blocks against Robert Morris.

“He’s been dynamic,” UCF coach Johnny Dawkins said of Diong. “He’s a heck of a leader.”

UCF’s other starters are all back from the Knights’ 2021-2022 roster: Brandon Mahan, who averaged 12.3 points last season; Darin Green Jr., who averaged 11.3 points; and Isaiah Adams, an AAC All-Rookie pick who averaged 8.9 points.

Mahan, voted the top shooter in the AAC, made 91 percent of his free throws and 44 percent of his three-pointers last season.

UCF’s bench is led by former five-star Oregon recruit C.J. Walker, named the AAC’s top defensive player in a preseason poll. He had 12 points and eight rebounds against Robert Morris.

–Field Level Media

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