GREENVILLE — Central Florida had the last run Saturday and it produced a 61-58 American Athletic Conference win at East Carolina.
The Knights finished the game with a decisive 11-2 flurry to improve to 17-10 overall and 8-7 in the AAC.
A 15-4 run by the Pirates (12-15, 4-10) produced a 56-50 ECU lead. The spree included 10 points by Kentrell Barkley, who did not play until the second half for disciplinary reasons.
The Pirates got 11 points from Michel Nzege. Adding 10 each were Jeremy Sheppard, Andre Washington and Barkley.
Nick Banyard had 18 points and 11 rebounds for UCF. Matt Williams had 15 points and sparked the closing comeback by the Knights.
A dunk by A.J. Davis put UCF ahead 57-56 with 1:38 remaining and the Knights maintained the lead as 7 feet, 6 inch Tacko Fall made three of six at the line in the last 38 seconds.
“We fought so hard to get back in it,” said ECU interim coach Michael Perry. “We got control and let it slip way. Hat’s off to them. That’s a tough one to swallow.”
The Pirates got a tough break before the go-ahead basket by Davis as Jeremy Sheppard yielded possession near the ECU bench thinking the Pirates had been granted a timeout.
Deng Riak had eight rebounds for ECU and Washington grabbed seven. Washington blocked five shots.
Sheppard had six assists and Caleb White had five.
Washington made all five of his field goal attempts and Nzege was 5-for-6.
The Pirates went 10 of 11 on free throws while the Knights were six of 16.
ECU also took a 3-point loss to UCF, 48-45, in Orlando on Jan. 3.
The Pirates visit Tulane (5-21, 2-12) on Tuesday for a 9 p.m. tipoff. ECU defeated the Green Wave 74-65 in Greenville on Feb. 4.
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