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Mahan helps UCF hold off Auburn 63-55 in season opener

December 1, 2020 GMT
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Auburn guard Allen Flanigan (22) saves the ball from going out of bounds in front of Central Florida guard Dre Fuller Jr. (24) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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Auburn guard Allen Flanigan (22) saves the ball from going out of bounds in front of Central Florida guard Dre Fuller Jr. (24) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Brandon Mahan scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including four of UCF’s final six free throws, and the Knights held off Auburn 63-55 down the stretch to win a season-opener Monday night.

Mahan played four minutes in the first half but all of the second, making 4 of 8 shots, all four free throws and three steals, two defensive rebounds and an assist.

Mahan made his presence felt with a steal just over two minutes into the second half, leading to a Dre Fuller Jr. 3-pointer. In the final two minutes, he scored on a drive to the basket that pushed the lead to eight, deflected an inbound pass for a takeaway, stole another pass and hit four from the line.

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Fuller and Tony Johnson Jr. carried the Knights through a low-scoring first half, combining for 14 of UCF’s 30 points. Fuller ended the game with 13 and Darin Green Jr. added 10.

Jamal Johnson led Auburn (1-2) with 18 points, draining five 3-pointers, matching his career high. Jaylin Williams added eight points and eight rebounds.

The Tigers were 32% from the floor (20-of-62), 7-of-34 from deep, and committed 22 turnovers. They were 8 of 22 from the free-throw line.

“Ah, well, that was ugly. Set the game of basketball back a few years,” Tigers coach Bruce Pearl said.

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