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UCF overcomes tough start to defeat Florida A&M


UCF had four players score in double figures and the Knights pulled away in the second half for a 69-56 victory over Florida A&M Thursday night in Orlando.

Jayln Sellers scored 15 points, Darius Johnson and Marchelus Avery scored 13 points each and Shemari Allen 11 as the Knights (8-3) led the entire second half for their second straight win. It was the sixth game of a seven-game homestand for the Knights, who host Bethune-Cookman Dec. 29 before opening Big 12 play at Kansas State next month.

Roderick Coffee III more than doubled his season point total with a season-high 14 points for the Rattlers (2-8), who dropped a third consecutive game. Shannon Grant added 12 points and Keith Lamar, their leading scorer with a 14.8 average, scored eight of his 11 points over the last 5:27 and grabbed 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

The Knights quickly increased a 26-24 halftime lead with the first five points of the second half but the Rattlers refused to fold. They were within 44-42 at the 13:01 mark but the Knights went on a 10-0 run for a 12-point lead less than four minutes later.

Florida A&M would get no closer than nine the rest of the way.

After a dismal first half, the Knights shot 52.2 percent in the second to finish at 39.6 percent for the game. The Rattlers were at 50 percent in the second half but never solved their ballhandling woes. They finished with 21 turnovers to help the Knights to a 24-13 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Knights were without starting forward Thierno Sylla (concussion protocol).

The first half was a frustrating 20 minutes for both teams.

They combined to shoot 33.3 percent from the floor (18 of 54), a figure that was enhanced by the Rattlers going 4 of 4 from the floor over the last 3:26 and the Knights closing on a 6-of-9 run.

The Knights jumped in front 8-0 but then went nearly nine minutes without a point. Avery sunk a layup to break an 0-of-13 shooting drought and tie the game at 10-10 with 6:28 left in the half.

The Knights led 19-12 after a 9-0 run overcame a two-point deficit., but the Rattlers closed out the first half on a 5-0 spurt to close to within two at the break. Both teams barely avoided season scoring lows for a first half.

–Field Level Media

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