In their first season competing as a Big 12 member, the UCF Knights still have some local competition to face.
After winning the Jacksonville Classic on Monday behind the standout play of Darius Johnson, the Knights will host local foe Stetson Sunday afternoon.
UCF (4-1) trailed by eight in the second half and by six in overtime, but 17 points from Johnson after the break helped pave the way to a 74-71 win over Charlotte to win the tournament in nearby St. Augustine.
"Our guys have big hearts," eighth-year UCF coach Johnny Dawkins said. "They found a way because they're always looking to make plays and we never feel like we're out of a ballgame. When you have that type of belief, you can come back from some deficits and we were able to do that."
UCF shot just 37.3 percent but outrebounded the 49ers by a 51-36 margin.
During a three-game winning streak, the Knights have combined to win the last two by six total points.
The squad's only setback was an 88-72 loss at then-No. 13 Miami on Nov. 10.
The Knights' northern neighbor about 40 miles away, Stetson (3-2) made history last weekend as it won a national tournament for the first time since the DeLand school joined Division I in 1971.
The Hatters claimed the Sunshine Slam Championship in Daytona Beach, beating Central Michigan 71-61 behind Jalen Blackmon's 20 points.
After double-digit road losses to UNLV and new Big 12 member Houston, Stetson has been victorious its last two times out in wins over Milwaukee and CMU.
"Winning the Sunshine Slam Championship is more than a triumph on the court," said Hatters coach Donnie Jones. "It's a testament to our team's unwavering dedication, resilience, and the shining potential that unites us. This win is a huge opportunity for our team to grow and experience success."
UCF has won 20 straight matchups with the Hatters, who last defeated the Knights 83-65 on Jan. 27, 2001.
Stetson, which led by 13 points at halftime, shot 50.9 percent from the field and held CMU to 37.5 percent shooting.
Stephan Swenson and Alec Oglesby had 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Stetson made 9 of 24 3-point tries (37.5 percent) including four by Oglesby.
--Field Level Media
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