Isaiah Sykes recorded his second triple-double of the season and Keith Clanton became the program’s career rebounds leader as the UCF men’s basketball team defeated East Carolina, 83-73, on a memorable Saturday at the UCF Arena. The Knights (17-6, 7-2 Conference USA), who have won six of their last seven games, built a big lead and then held off a late Pirate rally.
Sykes finished with 20 points and career highs in rebounds (16) and assists (11) to register the fourth triple-double in program history. He became the first Knight to record two triple-doubles in a season and grabbed nine offensive rebounds.
“I was trying to look for my teammates and get others involved in the game,” Sykes said. “Without my teammates, it wouldn’t be possible. You have to give them credit.”
Clanton (14 points, 6 rebounds) now has 948 boards for his career. The senior from Orlando is also sixth on the C-USA all-time rebounds list.
“It means a lot, knowing that rebounding is all effort,” Clanton said of the UCF record. “It is just about how hard you are going to go out there and play every day. I feel like I competed every day.”
UCF led 48-35 at the break and then built its advantage to 16 early in the second stanza. The Pirates (13-9, 4-5) rallied and cut the Knights’ lead to four with 1:31 to play when Akeem Richmond hit a 3-pointer. Sykes answered for the Knights, grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds before scoring inside. UCF scored the game’s final six points.
“I was proud of our guys, showing great composure down the stretch,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said.
The Knights, who have won six-straight games at home, are now tied for second with Southern Miss in the C-USA standings.
Five UCF players finished with double figures in scoring. Tristan Spurlock totaled 16 points and Calvin Newell added 13 points. Kasey Wilson came off the bench to record 10 points for the Knights, who had 18 assists with only seven turnovers.
Maurice Kemp led the Pirates with 24 points and 11 boards.
UCF will play a pair of games on the road next week, starting with a Wednesday evening contest at Memphis. The Tigers are currently receiving top-25 votes in both national polls and are unbeaten in conference play.