Behind 21 points and a game-high 10 boards from Isaiah Sykes, UCF topped SMU, 74-65, for a Conference USA victory Saturday at the UCF Arena. The Knights, who led for the majority of the second half, improved to 14-5 overall and 4-1 in the league with the win.
Sykes, who recorded his second-straight 20-point outing, made some big plays down the stretch after the Mustangs (11-10, 1-5) tied the contest at 63 with 3:45 to play on a Ryan Manuel jumper. On the ensuing possession, Sykes tipped in a missed shot as he was fouled.
The junior completed the 3-point play with one of his seven made free throws and scored inside again with 1:36 on the clock after SMU had gotten within one point. The Mustangs were not able to get any closer the rest of the game.
Sykes was one of three Knights to finish with double digits in scoring as Calvin Newell scored 17 points and Tristan Spurlock added 14 points and a career-high four blocks.
“You want your team to be versatile. As we continue to build our team, it only makes us better (to get contributions from many players),” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. “We were able to win.”
The contest concluded a two-game homestand for the Knights. The team’s next two games are on the road, starting with a matchup Wednesday at Tulane. UCF plays at Marshall next Saturday.
SMU led by seven points early, but the Knights took a 38-32 advantage into halftime after closing the period on a 19-9 run.
Manuel led the Mustangs with 17 points. UCF shot 46.4 percent overall and made 17-of-21 (81.0 percent) of its free-throw attempts.