In front a huge crowd at CFE Arena, the UCF men’s basketball team was unable to post a big in-state victory Wednesday as Florida State pulled away for an 80-68 win. The Knights (1-1) committed 20 turnovers and allowed the Seminoles, who improved to 2-0, to shoot 50.0 percent from the floor.
The game was played in front of 9,343 fans, the fourth-largest crowd in UCF history.
Florida State led 38-33 at the break and used a 17-4 run midway through the second half to create separation from the Knights. The Florida State bench accounted for 33 points, with reserve Ian Miller totaling a game-high 18 points.
Calvin Newell and Kasey Wilson both scored 15 points for the Knights and Isaiah Sykes added 13 points.
The Seminoles shot 51.9 percent after the break. Montay Brandon capped the 17-4 run with 10:01 left to play with a layup that gave Florida State a 62-45 edge. UCF got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
“I thought we had a chance,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said of his team entering the second half. “Sykes had two fouls, and that hurt our momentum a little bit. He had to sit out eight minutes in the first half. I thought we got into halftime, down five, we were right where we needed to be. I thought in the second half we would calm down a little bit more and get into executing, but we didn’t do a very good job with that. We got caught up in trying to do too much.”
UCF and Florida State were meeting for the 10th time, but the contest was the first series matchup on the UCF campus.
UCF got within nine points with 1:56 left to play when Wilson nailed a 3-pointer, but Miller responded for Florida State with a jumper.
The Knights shot 39.7 percent overall. Eugene McCrory led the hosts with nine boards.
The Knights will return to action Sunday, hosting Bethune-Cookman at 2 p.m.