ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team was unable to rally past Marshall Wednesday at the UCF Arena as the Thundering Herd built a big lead on its way to an 82-70 victory. The Knights (17-9, 7-5), who lost at home for the first time in Conference USA play this year, were led by Isaiah Sykes, who scored 23 points and grabbed 11 boards.
Marshall (12-15, 5-7) led by 22 points with just over nine minutes to play and then held off the Knights, who dropped their third-straight contest, after the hosts got within eight points with 4:23 to go.
Tristan Spurlock cut the Herd lead to 73-65 with a pair of free throws, but Marshall used a 5-1 run over the next two minutes to pull away as the Knights missed their next six field goals.
Marshall shot 54.2 percent overall for the game and finished with a 42-32 edge on the glass. Four Marshall players finished with double digits in scoring, led by Elijiah Pittman's 20 points.
"We didn't have the energy we needed," UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. "Our guys needed to give a better effort out there. Give credit to Marshall, they played hard and got all the loose balls."
UCF was playing at home for the first time since Feb. 9. The Knights had a pair of road games last week.
Behind 13 first-half points by D.D. Scarver, the Herd led by as many as 16 in the opening stanza and took a 48-34 edge into intermission.
Calvin Newell added 16 points for the Knights, who also received 10 points from Keith Clanton. UCF shot 43.1 percent from the field and made just 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) of its tries from deep and shot 52.4 percent at the line.
The contest opened a four-game homestand for the Knights, who host Tulsa Saturday at 4 p.m.