(Tampa, FL) Justin Brown scored 15 points and hit three 3-pointers in a 75-63 setback against UCF Wednesday evening at a packed Yuengling Center that drew its largest crowd since 2012 with 7,231 fans filling the arena.
David Collins and Antun Maricevic each added 10 points for a USF team (18-10, 7-8) that is one win shy of tying a school record for the most home wins in a season.
Tacko Fall led UCF with 18 points and five rebounds, and B.J. Taylor added 15 points and five assists. Aubrey Dawkins chipped in with 14 points and Dayon Griffin finished with 12 points off the bench.
USF went on a 7-0 run late in the first half to turn a five-point deficit into a two-point advantage. Five points during the surge came from Brown, sandwiched around a three-pointer by Maricevic, as USF ahead, 28-26, with 4:37 before halftime. A layup from Taylor just before the halftime horn put the Knights ahead, 36-33, at the break.
UCF (21-6, 11-4) used a 14-3 run to begin the second half, capped on a dunk by Chad Brown, to build a 50-36 lead just over six minutes into play. A three-pointer from Collins midway through the half trimmed the lead to 10, but the Knights used free throws on their next two possessions to go ahead, 60-47.
USF got as close as eight points on a three-pointer from Brown with 3:52 remaining for its smallest deficit since the 17:06 mark of the half. UCF answered with two free throws from Taylor and a jumper by Dawkins to extend its lead back to 12 at 67-55.
The Knights would go on to lead by as many as 15 before Brown’s third 3-pointer just before the final buzzer gave UCF its final margin of victory.
“Central Florida is a very good basketball team that is also very balanced”, said Bulls Head Coach Brian Gregory. “They are very experienced and they know exactly what they need to get done. I thought we played well in the first half, not as good defensively as I would have liked, but at the same time really executed some really good stuff offensively.”
The Bulls continue league play Sunday at noon when the Bulls travel to UConn for a matchup televised by CBS Sports Network.
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