ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Mike O'Donnell scored 16 points and Central Florida rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to defeat Southern Mississippi 59-56 Wednesday.
The Golden Knights (20-7, 9-4 Conference USA) went on a 10-0 run to take a 53-48 lead with 1:23 remaining. Jeremy Wise's 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds remaining pulled the Golden Eagles within 56-53.After a free throw by O'Donnell, Wise hit on a conventional 3-point play with 6.3 seconds left to cut the Central Florida lead to 57-56. Dave Noel hit two free throws with 5.4 seconds left to extend the Golden Knights' lead to three.Wise's three-point attempt, which would have tied the game, bounced off the rim and Noel grabbed the rebound to preserve the victory.UCF shot 35.6 percent from the floor. Southern Mississippi (17-9, 7-6) shot 31.3 percent from the field.Lavell Payne finished with 14 points and seven rebounds for UCF. Josh Peppers finished with 12 points.Wise finished with 22 points for Southern Mississippi, including 17 in the second half.Southern Mississippi hit only 11-of-35 from the floor (31.4 percent), while UCF hit 7-of-29 from the field (29.2 percent).Mike Battle's three-pointer tied the game for the Golden Knights with 3:02 remaining in the first half. The Golden Eagles, however, went on an 8-0 run in the final 2:23 to take a 26-18 lead at halftime.