B.J. Taylor scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half and hit a big three-pointer late in the game to lead UCF to a 76-69 victory over USC Upstate Sunday in non-conference action from CFE Arena.
USC Upstate used four straight points from Fred Miller to cut the UCF lead to 70-67 with 2:06 remaining. That’s when Taylor hit a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to push the lead up to six points at the 1:39 mark.
Ty Greene pulled Upstate within 73-69 with a basket in the paint with 35 seconds left, but Upstate was forced to foul on the following UCF possession. Shaheed Davis made both free throws and the Spartans went 0-for-3 from the field over the final 34 seconds as UCF held on for its third straight victory.
Brandon Goodwin and Staphon Blair each scored 11 points for UCF, and Kasey Wilson registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Mario Blessing went 5-for-5 from the field and hit four three-pointers to finish with 14 points and eight assists for Upstate. Greene added 10 points and two steals, while Michael Buchanan poured in 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Miller and ShunQuez Stephens each finished with 10 points.
Upstate and UCF went back-and-forth over the opening nine minutes of the first half with neither team holding more than a three-point lead. Shaheed Davis put the Knights ahead 22-19 at the 11:29 mark with a dunk off a pass from Adonys Henriquez.
Buchanan answered on the other end with a layup to ignite a 14-2 run to give Upstate a 33-24 lead with 7:29 remaining. The Knight scored the next six points before Buchanan scored in the paint to push the lead back to five points.
After Kasey Wilson Greene traded baskets, Taylor knocked down a three-pointer from the wing with just under a minute remaining to cut the Upstate lead to 37-35 at halftime.
UCF scored the first eight points of the second half to build a 43-37 lead on two three-pointers from Taylor and a layup by Henriquez. Blessing regained the lead for Upstate minutes later with back-to-back three-pointers to put the Spartans ahead 56-54. Miller gave Upstate its final lead with a layup with 9:51 remaining before the Knights went on a 9-0 run to take its largest lead of the game at 68-61.
Upstate returns to action Thursday at 3:30 p.m. when the Spartans host Florida International at 3:30 p.m. in the first game of the Spartanburg Marriott Upstate Classic from the Hodge Center.