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.