ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Baylor coach Scott Drew feels like his No. 18 Baylor team is three plays away from potentially being the No. 1 team in the country after losing three straight - two in overtime and the other by two points.

Trailing on the road against UCF and facing a possible fourth straight loss, Langston Love came off the bench to score 24 points, including a 3-pointer with five minutes to play that capped a 7-0 run and gave the Bears the lead for good in a 77-69 win over UCF on Wednesday night.

UCF led for all but 94 seconds before Baylor (15-5, 4-3 Big 12) took the late lead that was extended to as much as nine points.

After three straight tough finishes, the Bears finally came through for a late-game win.

“We've just got tough guys who embrace the moment," Love said. "That's all it takes. We're going to make the tough plays and get on the floor and give the extra effort. That's all we had to do.”

The Knights (12-8, 3-5) have struggled late in games this season.

After leading for much of the game, UCF scored only five field goals in the final five minutes, while Baylor made five of its last seven field goal attempts to clinch the victory.

“It just comes down to our execution at the end of the game,” said UCF guard Darius Johnson, who led the Knights with 23 points and 10 assists. "We have to be better offensively executing and we have to take more focus on our defense. We had too many miscues, too many offensive rebounds and too many late threes at the end of the game."

Jalen Bridges had 12 points for Baylor, RayJ Dennis added 11 points and eight assists and Yves Missi scored 11 points.

Marchellus Avery had 16 points making 4 of 8 3-pointers, and Jaylin Sellers scored 11 for the Knights, who shot 54% for the game and 14 for 27 from 3-point range.

UCF made six straight shots after missing its first shot of the game to take an early 10-point lead. Johnson scored 16 points in the first half, hitting 4 of 5 3-pointers, including a step-back 3 near the end of the half for a 38-32 halftime lead.

But Baylor limited Johnson in the second half as the senior guard made 3 of 5 shots and committed three turnovers.

The Bears forced eight second-half turnovers to help close the gap and eventually take the lead. UCF finished the game with 16 turnovers, leading to 14 Baylor points.

The team can't afford to make mistakes in the closing minutes of the game, UCF coach Johnny Dawkins said. “You can't turn the ball over, you need to make your free throws and you need to get stops,” he said. "We turned it over too much going down the stretch.”

Those margins finally helped Baylor breakthrough and sent UCF to another loss.


Baylor snapped a three-game losing streak, avoiding its first four-game regular-season losing streak since the 2018 season, the last time the Bears failed to make the NCAA Tournament.

UCF's hopes of making the NCAA Tournament took a major hit as the Knights need wins over ranked opponents to bolster their resume. It was the second straight game the Knights lost a sizable lead in the second half.


Baylor: Heads home to play No. 12 Iowa State on Saturday night.

UCF: Stays home Saturday to take on No. 23 Oklahoma.

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