ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – Kasey Wilson scored a game-high 20 points as the UCF men’s basketball team used a big second-half run to record a 65-50 non-league win over Georgia Southwestern Tuesday at the UCF Arena. UCF (19-9) will return to the Conference USA portion of its schedule Saturday when it hosts No. 17 Memphis for its home finale.
After leading 23-16 at the break, the Knights used a 20-0 run at the start of the second half to pull away from the Hurricanes. Wilson, who connected on 7-of-11 field goals and 5-of-7 triples, hit three 3-pointers during the spurt. Tristan Spurlock (13 points, 7 rebounds) capped the run, which featured some full-court pressure defense, with a trey of his own at the 14:01 mark that gave the hosts a 47-22 advantage.
“Our guys wanted it to be easy in the first half. We got out in the press (in the second half) and I thought we were able to create some offense with defense,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. “The run was important, that was huge.”
The Knights shot just 30.8 percent in the opening half, but made 41.2 percent of their shots after the break. UCF shot 36.7 percent for the game, compared to 27.3 percent for Georgia Southwestern.
UCF forced 18 turnovers, with Isaiah Sykes (11 points, 8 boards, 5 assists) registering a career-high nine steals, the most by a Knight since Marius Boyd had seven swipes in 2003.
Tipoff for UCF’s game with Memphis is 1 p.m. Saturday. Prior to the contest, the program’s three seniors, including Keith Clanton, will be honored. Clanton totaled nine points, a game-high 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks against the Hurricanes.
Tuesday’s game served as the latest non-conference game for the Knights since the program first joined a league at the Division I level in 1990.