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UCF stumbles in loss to Stetson despite career showing by Jaylin Sellers

UCF guard Jaylin Sellers scored a career-high 34 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Knights dropped a home contest Sunday against Stetson, 85-82.

Sellers was 12-of-16 from the floor with 8 rebounds and 2 assists.

Stetson’s Jalen Blackmon had 26 points, connecting on six 3-pointers, while Stephan Swanson added 19 points.

UCF (4-2, 0-0 Big 12) was fresh off claiming the championship in the Jacksonville Classic after defeating South Dakota State (83-80) and Charlotte (74-71 OT) last week.

“We got up by 13 in the first half and when we’re up like that, we have to learn to build off that lead,” said UCF coach Johnny Dawkins. “We have to be better.”

The Knights used an early 12-2 run to grab a double-digit lead over Stetson (4-2 0-0 ASUN) at 21-8 with 11:31 in the first half before going cold, converting just 4 of their next 14 shots (29%) and allowing the Hatters to cut a 13-point lead to single digits.

Blackmon’s 3-pointer with 2:35 left pulled Stetson within 28-27, but the Knights hung on for a 36-30 halftime advantage.

Those same shooting woes followed UCF into the second half as the team missed 4 of its first 5 shots, allowing the Hatters to take their first lead at 40-38 with 16:48 left. The Knights retook the lead and held it throughout much of the half before Alex Doyle’s 3-pointer with 5:40 gave Stetson the lead for good.

“I don’t think our preparation was where it was supposed to be,” said Sellers. “That’s on us. The coaches gave us the game plan and we didn’t follow it.”

Darius Johnson (15 points) and Shemarri Allen (11) scored in double-digits for the Knights.

Stetson coach Donnie Jones spent 6 seasons with the Knights, amassing a 79-88 record before being let go in 2016.

It was his first win over his former team, snapping a 20-game losing streak by the Hatters to the Knights.

UCF returns to the hardwood to host Lipscomb on Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN+).

Email Matt Murschel at moc.lenitnesodnalro@lehcsrumm or follow him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel

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