GREENVILLE — Senior guard C.J. Kelly scored 30 points to lead Central Florida to a 64-61 American Athletic Conference win over East Carolina in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Kelly hit nine of 13 field goal attempts, including four of six from beyond the arc, and dropped eight of 10 at the line.
“He took the game over,” said ECU coach Michael Schwartz on the Pirate radio network. “In the first half, he did it with shooting. In the second half, he did it with driving the basketball.”
The Pirates (10-6, 1-2 AAC) had their biggest lead at 26-20 with 5:24 left in the first half. The Knights (11-4, 2-1) closed within 27-25 at the break.
UCF led 55-46 with 4:39 to go, but the Pirates got off potential tying 3-pointers by Wynston Tabbs and Javon Small after Brandon Johnson purposely missed the second of two free throws with seven seconds left. Tabbs got the offensive rebound on the right side.
R.J. Felton and Johnson had 16 points each to lead ECU. Ezra Ausar added 12 in the setback. Tabbs and Small tallied five apiece.
Small led the Pirates in rebounding (7) and assists (8).
ECU went 13 of 22 on free throws (59.1 percent), including the intentional miss.
Freshman Taylor Hendricks scored 12 for the Knights. Ithiel Horton had eight rebounds for UCF.
The Pirates play at Memphis (11-4, 1-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m. (ESPN+).