ORLANDO, Fla. -- Calvin Newell and Isaiah Sykes scored 24 points apiece as Central Florida capitalized on its advantage at the free-throw line to beat Rice 78-67 Wednesday night in Conference USA action.
Tied at 32 at intermission, the Knights (13-5, 3-1) made 21 of 26 free throws in the second half, compared to 8 of 14 for the Owls.
UCF came out of the break with a 16-7 run, capped by Tristan Spurlock's 3-pointer. After extending the lead to 12 points, the Knights saw Rice climb back to 56-54 with 7:52 left.
The Owls (4-14, 0-4) were still within three points with 5:15 remaining when UCF hit six straight free throws. After Tamir Jackson's three-point play closed the gap to 66-60, Sykes made a layup and Newell a 3-pointer.
Spurlock added 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for UCF, which has won four its last five.
Jackson's 15 points led Rice.
Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon and other crimes.
Point guard Jaylen Fisher, who reopened his recruitment after coaching changes at UNLV, has committed to TCU over a long list of schools.
Forward Kennedy Meeks, who has averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds at North Carolina, has pulled out of the NBA draft and will return to the Tar Heels.
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