NEW ORLEANS (UCFAthletics.com) – After a sluggish start Wednesday at Devlin Fieldhouse, the UCF men’s basketball team recorded a dominant second-half performance to post a 58-50 victory at Tulane. The Knights (15-5, 5-1 Conference USA) outscored Tulane 37-22 in the second half to post their fourth-straight win.
Isaiah Sykes registered his fourth-straight 20-point game and led the Knights with 20 points to go with nine rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals in 40 minutes. He scored 16 of his points after the break.
After trailing the Green Wave (14-7, 2-4) by 12 points early and seven points at the half, UCF excelled in the second stanza when it limited the hosts to 28.0 percent shooting and forced 12 turnovers. UCF began the second half by outscoring Tulane 21-6.
“I am so proud of our guys. That was a tough, gritty win,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. “Tulane is a very good team and our guys faced some adversity early, but showed great determination. That says a lot about our team.”
Kasey Wilson scored nine points in the second half as the Knights built an 11-point advantage with 1:55 to play before holding off a late Green Wave rally.
The win was the sixth straight for the Knights over Tulane.
The game was the first of two on the road this week for the Knights. UCF will play at Marshall Saturday.
UCF entered the game as one of the top shooting teams in the country and picked up the win despite shooting just 35.1 percent overall and 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) from deep. Wilson finished with 12 points and Keith Clanton grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to go with eight points and three blocks. In the first half, he became just the 10th player in C-USA history to record at least 200 career swats. He now has 202 as a Knight.
The Green Wave raced out to a big lead early and had a 12-point advantage with eight minutes left in the first half. Sykes played a big part in a 15-4 UCF run that got the Knights back into the game.
He had an incredible block of a Jordan Callahan layup on a fastbreak that ignited UCF and the Knights later cut the Tulane lead to 20-19 with 3:35 left when Tristan Spurlock made pair of free throws. The Green Wave used a run of their own to close the half and took a 28-21 edge into the break.
Josh Davis led Tulane with 18 points. UCF forced 19 Green Wave turnovers for the game. The hosts shot 35.2 percent.
UCF’s next home game is set for Wednesday, Feb. 6 against Southern Miss.