UCF downs Bethune-Cookman, Justin McBride has career night

Justin+McBride+has+led+the+Knights+in+scoring+the+past+two+games%2C+including+14+points+in+UCF%27s+61-59+victory+of+Georgia+Southern.+

Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Justin McBride has led the Knights in scoring the past two games, including 14 points in UCF's 61-59 victory of Georgia Southern.

UCF center Justin McBride scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Knights to a 75-67 victory over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Sunday night at CFE Arena in front of an announced crowd of 3,258.

The Knights took advantage of the smaller Wildcats frontcourt which helped McBride achieve his career night as he finished the game by shooting 12-of-15 from the field and adding a career-high eight rebounds.

“I was very proud of him to finally get him back into where we expect him to be and I’m really happy for him, he needs some success and tonight he really dominated inside and that was the difference in the game for us,” Knights head coach Donnie Jones said on McBride’s career night. “I was happy to see him be aggressive and be assertive tonight in the basketball game.”

Jones called upon McBride early in the first half, opting to bring him in as the first substitute off of the bench. McBride responded by setting his career-high in points at 14 in the first half.

“I wanted to get him in early because he had worked hard the last few days,” Jones said. “I think the thing with Justin is he’s trying to see where he fits in these games. He’s done a much better job these last few days and I wanted to get him in early try to get him going and he just really played well.”

McBride’s 31 points were the most a Knights player had scored since Isaiah Sykes scored 36 last season against Temple.

“My teammates just found me, that’s all it was,” McBride said. “My teammates just really made an effort to throw me the ball. They just found me, I started scoring a little bit and the basket got bigger and bigger and I was knocking down free throws but it felt good.”

Jones pushed his players through practice following the Knights’ 95-69 loss against Davidson on Wednesday and his team responded by never trailing in the game and leading by as many as 12 points.

The Wildcats cut the Knights’ second-half lead down to two points with 10:53 remaining in the game, but turnovers and missed shots allowed the Knights to pull away for good.

The Knights won despite missing one of its leading scorers in B.J. Taylor who was inactive due to an ankle injury suffered in the loss against Davidson. Taylor, who is averaging 12.8 points per game, could return for the Knights’ next game on Tuesday against Georgia Southern at 7:30 p.m at CFE Arena.