UCF blowout Stetson 83-66

ORLANDO — Isaiah Sykes recorded the third triple-double in UCF basketball history, as the University of Central Florida Knights defeated the Stetson Hatters 83-66, Thursday night at the UCF Arena.

Sykes had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, giving him the first triple-double for the Knights since Kingsley Edwards in 2005.

“It surprised me when they announced it, I didn’t have a clue,” said Sykes of his first career triple-double. “Coach told me to come out there and be more aggressive, so that’s what I tried to do.”

UCF dominated Stetson from the tip-off, as the Knights would start the game by going on a 13-4 run in the first 4:18 minutes of the first half.

Matt Williams hit a fast break three-pointer with 13:15 left to play in the first half to give UCF a 22-9 lead. The Knights started the first half shooting 5-5 from three-point range.

“It was target practice, they’re standing out there shooting practice shots,” said Stetson head coach Casey Alexander about UCF’s three-point shooting. “Good players, when they get wide open shots, they’re going to make them.”

Stetson went on a 12-6 run with seven minutes left in the half, cutting UCF’s lead to 28-20, but that was as close as the Hatters would get, as the Knights finished the half on a 13-5 run, giving them a 43-27 halftime lead.

The Knights opened up the second half by going on a 12-8 run to extend their lead to 55-35.

The highlight of the second half  came when Isaiah Sykes gave Tristan Spurlock a pass in the paint for his tenth assist of the night, giving Sykes his first triple-double of his career.

“Isaiah Sykes obviously he does the things that we talk about that’s a complete player,” said UCF head coach Donnie Jones. “Tonight’s a great example.”

UCF put many of their reserves in with two minutes left in the game, as the Knights were already leading 80-62.

Senior forward Keith Clanton led the Knights in scoring with 18 points, while adding 7 rebounds, and 4 steals for UCF.

With the win the Knights improve to 7-3, while the Hatters fall to 3-8 with the loss.

“Coach always tells us our next game is our most important game,” said Clanton after the game. “That’s the game that we have to focus on, you can’t focus on the past or the future, you have to focus on the game that’s present.”

UCF’s next game is Friday, Dec. 28 against Howard in the UCF Holiday Tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.