South Florida clips No. 4 UCF, heads to second round of NIT

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 20 Mar, 2024 at 03:58 AM

Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Selton Miguel made four 3-pointers and finished with 19 points as visiting South Florida beat rival UCF 83-77 in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night in Orlando, Fla.

The Bulls (25-7), the American Athletic Conference regular-season champions, shot 50 percent from the floor and 54.2 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (13 of 24) while fending off the fourth-seeded Knights' late comeback efforts.

In the second round, South Florida will face the winner of Wednesday's game between No. 1 seed Villanova and VCU.

Kasean Pryor tallied 17 points and eight rebounds, Jose Placer had 14 points and Jayden Reid scored 10 for South Florida.

Jaylin Sellers had a game-high 24 points to go along with six rebounds for UCF (17-16). Marchelus Avery combined 19 points with nine rebounds and Darius Johnson added 14 points before fouling out. The Knights made 43.8 percent of their shots from the floor and just 12 of their 23 free-throw attempts.

Miguel hit a 3-pointer at the 12:03 mark of the first half, and after more than two scoreless minutes from both teams, Reid knocked down threes on consecutive possessions to make it a 9-0 run and a 22-11 Bulls lead.

Reid prompted a South Florida run of six straight made field-goal attempts. Pryor was responsible for the last three, which put the Bulls up 32-18 with 6:03 left in the first half.

UCF cut the margin to eight three times, but to end the half, Miguel flung up a 3-pointer from the NIT logo near midcourt, and it rolled in at the buzzer for a 49-35 South Florida advantage.

UCF fell behind by 15 in the first minute of the second half before making its charge.

With his team down nine, Sellers made two free throws, then got out in transition for a layup. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Johnson forced a turnover out of bounds, and he turned the extra possession into a 3-pointer that cut UCF's deficit to 57-55 with 12:59 to go.

The teams traded triples and UCF kept drawing within two points, but the Knights eventually hit a scoring drought that lasted 4:26. Chris Youngblood's transition 3 gave South Florida a 74-67 lead with less than five minutes left.

Sellers made a long 3 to end the Knights' drought and draw his team within four, but it would get no closer.

--Field Level Media