ORLANDO, Fla.: Brandon Mahan scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including four of UCF’s final six free throws, and the Knights held off Auburn 63-55 down the stretch to win a season-opener Monday night.
Mahan played four minutes in the first half but all of the second, making 4 of 8 shots, all four free throws and three steals, two defensive rebounds and an assist.
Mahan made his presence felt with a steal just over two minutes into the second half, leading to a Dre Fuller Jr. 3-pointer. In the final two minutes, he scored on a drive to the basket that pushed the lead to eight, deflected an inbound pass for a takeaway, stole another pass and hit four from the line.
Fuller and Tony Johnson Jr. carried the Knights through a low-scoring first half, combining for 14 of UCF’s 30 points. Fuller ended the game with 13 and Darin Green Jr. added 10.
Jamal Johnson led Auburn (1-2) with 18 points, draining five 3-pointers, matching his career high. Jaylin Williams added eight points and eight rebounds.
The Tigers were 32% from the floor (20-of-62), 7-of-34 from deep, and committed 22 turnovers. They were 8 of 22 from the free-throw line.
Ah, well, that was ugly. Set the game of basketball back a few years, Tigers coach Bruce Pearl said.
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