Dave Noel led three UCF players in double figures with 14 points as UCF christened its new 10,000-seat arena with a season-opening 63-60 victory over Nevada Sunday afternoon.
Nevada nearly overcame an 11-point, second-half deficit. After UCF's Chip Cartwright missed a 1-and-1 free throw situation with 7 seconds remaining, Marcelus Kemp's 3-point attempt at the buzzer banged off the rim to preserve the Knights' victory.
UCF shot only 38 percent from the floor, but had 11 steals. The Knights had several chances to put the game away in the final minute, but turned the ball over twice. Mike O'Donnell missed a 1-and-1 with UCF ahead 63-58 with 17 seconds left.
The Knights took a 58-47 lead with 5:12 left on a pair of free throws by Kenrick Zondervan.
Nevada went on a 7-0 run to trim its deficit to four with 3:38 remaining.
O'Donnell, UCF's point guard and captain, left the game with a head injury after hitting the floor hard with 11:45 remaining and UCF clinging to a four-point lead. UCF then proceeded to go on an 8-2 run to take a 51-41 lead with 9:44 left. O'Donnell returned with 6:52 remaining.
Noel finished with nine rebounds. Zondervan had 12 points and Cartwright finished with 11. Kemp led Nevada with 19 points.
UCF took a 12-point lead, its largest of the first half, on a 3-pointer by Jermaine Taylor, with 3:22 remaining. Nevada went on an 11-2 run, including a pair of 3-pointers by Armon Johnson, to cut their deficit to 31-28. The Knights pushed the lead back to seven, but JaVale McGee's 3-pointer with 5 seconds left in the half brought the Wolfpack to within 35-31 at halftime.
UCF shot 38 percent in the first half and had six steals.
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