Central Florida shot the ball well for much of the night, hitting 53 percent of its field goal attempts, won the rebounding battle 41-32, and had 22 total assists as a team.
Staphon Blair and Brandon Goodwin each finished with 11 points for the Knights (3-0). Kasey Wilson added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Ty Greene and Mario Blessing each had 14 points to pace South Carolina Upstate (3-1). Blessing added eight assists. Michael Buchanan added 12 points and eight boards off the bench.
The Spartans led 37-35 at halftime, but Central Florida rallied with a 9-0 run late in the second half that catapulted them from a 61-59 deficit into the lead for good.