UCF nips Charlotte in OT to capture tourney title

UCF nips Charlotte in OT to capture tourney title

Jaylin Sellers came up with a key rebound off Ibrahim Diallo’s missed free throw and got the ball back to Diallo for the go-ahead layup with 16 seconds left in overtime as UCF beat Charlotte 74-71 on Monday at the Jacksonville Classic in St. Augustine, Fla.

The Knights trailed 71-65 approaching the final minute before staging the frantic rally — a 9-0 run — to capture the Coast Bracket championship of the eight-team event.

Darius Johnson, a junior, scored a career-high 25 points and Sellers added 19 as the only double-figure scorers for the Knights (4-1). Diallo finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Lu’Cye Patterson led the 49ers (3-2) with 21 points and Igor Milicic Jr. scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Jackson Threadgill contributed 11 points.

After a lackluster first half that saw the teams hit a combined 18 of 60 shots from the field (30 percent), the play improved slightly after the break. Overall, the 49ers outshot the Knights 42.4 percent to 37.3 percent. The Knights dominated the glass with a 51-36 edge, including a 17-8 edge in offensive boards.

The 49ers doubled a four-point halftime lead to 45-37 approaching the 11-minute of the game as the Knights hurt themselves with turnovers in key situations.

Despite that, UCF was able stay within range of the 49ers, trimming the deficit to 47-46 with 7:39 remaining on a layup by Omar Payne. The Knights took a 53-52 lead on Marchelus Avery’s layup, and the teams battled on even terms over the final four minutes before Charlotte’s Nik Graves missed a rushed 3-point attempt at the buzzer to send the game to overtime at 59-59.

Charlotte led 26-22 at the half after trailing through nearly the first 13 minutes. Robert Braswell’s layup put the 49ers on top 16-15, and the contest wound up with four lead changes and four ties.