UCF placed just three players in double figures but still overcame cold shooting and 18 turnovers to capture its season opener 63-55 over equally cold-shooting Auburn on Monday night in Orlando.
Guard Dre Fuller Jr. led the Knights with 13 points and Brandon Mahan and Darin Green added 12 and 10, respectively, as the Knights led for most of the night despite shooting only 36.8 percent from the field.
Oregon transfer C.J. Walker scored 9 points in his UCF debut. Freshman Isaiah Adams, last season's Florida Mr. Basketball with Jacksonville Paxon High, also added 9 for the Knights.
Junior guard Jamal Johnson led all scorers and was the only player in double figures for the Tigers (1-2) with 18 points. Guard Allen Flanigan, who scored 20 points in the loss to No. 1 Gonzaga in Auburn's previous outing, scored only three points.
The Knights increased a nine-point halftime lead to 12 points, 35-23, in the first three minutes of the second period before the Tigers recovered. The Knights were up 47-43 with just more than six minutes remaining in the game but increased that to 54-44 with 4:33 left on Adams' 3-pointer and Mahan's jumper.
The Tigers got their deficit down to 57-52 on Justin Powell's three-point play with 39.5 seconds left, but the Knights closed out the game on a 6-3 run.
UCF led 30-21 at the halftime break as both teams were cold from the outset.
The Tigers missed their first dozen 3-point attempts before Johnson finally broke the ice with a pair of 3-pointers. The Tigers' 25.0 percent shooting overall marked the first time since a 29.4 effort against Georgia last year that they had shot under 30 percent in a half.
The Tigers ended up shooting 32.3 percent for the game.
The Tigers also failed to take advantage of UCF's early foul trouble, missing 11 of their first 14 free throws. They made just 8 of 22 free throw attempts for the game.
--Field Level Media