Taylor rescues UCF against East Carolina, 71-66
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP)—Jermaine Taylor scored a career-high 32 points and Central Florida recovered from blowing a big lead to beat East Carolina 71-66 Saturday night to stay unbeaten in Conference USA.
The Knights (10-7, 3-0) led by 22 points in the first half and 47-35 with under 13 minutes left before the Pirates (7-9, 1-2) stormed back.
James Legan’s 3-pointer with 5:35 left gave East Carolina its first lead and Brock Young’s hoop 20 seconds later made it 54-51.
But Taylor’s layup with 4:09 left put UCF back ahead and David Noel’s 3-pointer with 2:07 left gave the Knights a 60-56 lead.
Taylor and Noel, who scored 14 points, combined to go 8-for-8 from the foul line over the final 20 seconds to preserve UCF’s third straight win.
Legan hit six 3-pointers and scored 20 points and Sam Hinnant added 13 points for East Carolina, which had won three straight at home.
The Pirates, who were trying to win consecutive Conference USA games for the first time since the 2004-05 season, quickly fell behind 14-0.
Taylor hit 7 of his first 8 shots and had more than twice as many points (15) as East Carolina as the Knights built a 29-7 lead. Taylor had 20 points at halftime, when UCF’s lead was 36-23.
In leading the Knights in scoring for the 14th time in 17 games, the junior guard hit 11 of 16 shots and all eight free throws as UCF improved to 8-0 all-time against East Carolina.