March 6, 2013
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Andy Seeley
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UCFAthletics.com) – Isaiah Sykes scored 21 points to lead UCF (20-10, 9-6 C-USA) to a 74-70 victory over UAB (15-15, 7-8) at Bartow Arena Wednesday night. With that scoring output, Sykes became the 17th player in UCF history to join the 1,000-point club.
The Knights trailed 36-35 at halftime. UAB’s Rod Rucker pushed the Blazers’ advantage to three, 38-35 less than a minute into the second half. A pair of Keith Clanton free throws and a long Sykes three-pointer --which pushed him over the 1,000-point mark -- put UCF on top 40-38. The Knights tried to pull away, but couldn’t put the Blazers away on Senior Night at Bartow Arena.
UCF built a lead of as many as 13 points midway through the second half. The Knights used an 11-2 spurt over the course of three-and-a-half minutes to go up 62-49. Calvin Newell sparked the run with a 3-pointer, while Matt Williams and Kasey Wilson also hit triples during the run.
But the Blazers weren’t completely finished. Led by Rucker, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, UAB battled back. Rucker scored with 4:04 remaining to cap a 16-3 outburst that tied the contest at 65-65.
While the Blazers had pulled even, Wilson made sure they never grabbed the lead. On the next trip down the floor, the UCF sophomore buried a 3-pointer from the right wing and drew a foul on the shot. He converted the free throw and the Knights were on top 69-65. UAB got within one point with just more than two minutes remaining, but the Knights answered with a Clanton layup and hit just enough free throws in the final minute to hold on for the four-point victory.
The victory gives UCF a third consecutive 20-win season, a feat that has only been accomplished one other time since the Knights moved to Division I in 1984 (2002-05).
Sykes recorded 11 rebounds to go with his 21 points, both team-high totals. Newell scored 18 points, while Wilson scored 15 points and grabbed nine boards. Rucker’s double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) paced UAB.
UCF is back in action again Saturday at Southern Miss to wrap up the 2012-13 campaign.