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Darius Johnson comes off bench, guides UCF past Maine


Darius Johnson came off the bench to score 16 points due largely to 4-for-4 3-point shooting as UCF dominated Maine in a 74-51 win on Monday in Orlando.

The team’s second-leading scorer, Johnson missed practice over the weekend and was relegated to the bench by coach Johnny Dawkins.

However, the junior guard made his presence felt in the first half by scoring 10 points, helping the Knights (7-3) take a 23-point advantage to the locker room.

Johnson finished 5-for-6 from the field and added three assists in 22 minutes.

UCF’s Jaylin Sellers notched 13 points while Marchelus Avery had 12 points and six rebounds.

Thierno Sylla had five points and seven rebounds for the Knights. Ibrahima Diallo blocked four shots and Omar Payne swatted three. Shemarri Allen produced nine points, nine boards and five assists despite hurting his wrist in the second half.

Bolstered by Johnson’s production in the rare reserve role, UCF held a 42-31 advantage in bench points and shot 46.4 percent (26-for-56), including 42.1 percent (8-for-19) from long range.

Winners of just 13 games last season, the Black Bears (8-5) were led by Logan Carey, who logged nine points and seven rebounds. Peter Filipovity had eight points and eight rebounds as Maine’s four-game winning streak ended.

UCF, after a seven-day layoff following a 70-68 loss to still-undefeated Ole Miss, missed its first five shots, and Maine managed three leads before Johnson stepped on the court.

He quickly hit a pair of treys in a 34-second span as part of a 10-2 run to build a 15-8 lead.

Putting the slow start well behind them, the Knights hit 7 of 8 shots, then led 24-11 after Sylla stepped back and popped a 3-pointer with 9:31 left in the half.

UCF held the Black Bears without bucket for six minutes, and the Knights increased their advantage to 20 points on Nils Machowski’s trey from the left wing to make it 38-18 at 3:45. The gap was a decisive 41-18 at the halftime break.

The Knights led by as many as 32 in the second half and improved their all-time record against the Black Bears to 5-1, including a 4-0 mark in Orlando.

–Field Level Media

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