‘Thundering Herd’ take out Knights 82-70 on the road

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Robert Van Deering / Valencia Voice

Isaiah Sykes recorded his fifth double-double of the season in a loss to Marshall.

ORLANDO – Isaiah Sykes had his fifth double-double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as the University of Central Florida Knights lost to the Marshall Thundering Herd 82-70 at the UCF Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

“The last couple of games we’ve turn it over too much and gave up easy buckets we like to play defense with five guys back instead of one sometimes cause we turn it over and put ourselves in bad spot,” said UCF head coach Donnie Jones.

Before the game, forward Keith Clanton was honored by UCF for becoming the program’s all time rebound leader with 960 rebounds, which also ranks as seventh in the conference all time as well.

Clanton had four rebounds, which gives him 964 all time and moves him to fifth all time in conference for rebounds.

Sykes also finished the game with 5 assists, three steals and two turnovers. This game was also Sykes’ eleventh double double in his college career. Sykes picked up his fifth foul of the game with 2:03 left in the second half to foul out of the game.

Marshall started the game strong and had the lead half way through the first period when it was 28-19 with 9:07 remaining before halftime.

“Basically I think it was our defense, it was like the Globetrotters out there,” said UCF guard Calvin Newell.

UCF had a run of their own to cut the deficit to eight points when it was 34-26, with 5:49 left in the first half. That was as close the Knights came to the Herd as they took a 14 point lead going into the half when it was 48-34.

“That is a big thing because turnovers lead to fast break opportunities and if it was two guards down there and three or four big men running the lanes there is nothing we can do. That is when they got the alley-oops and the wide open threes,” said Newell. “They out worked us and out hustled us tonight.”

Marshall started halftime right where they left off pushing their lead to 17 points over the Knights. Marshall’s largest lead of the night was 22 points and then the Knights went on a run to cut the lead to as low as eight points late in the game, but couldn’t stop Marshall from scoring late in the game.

Marshall had four players in double figures with forward Elijah Pittman leading the way with 20 points.

Marshall came in as the worst free throw shooting team in conference with 56.8 percent shooting from the free throw line. They made free throws when they had too. They shot 66.7 percent (12-18 free throws) from the free throw line for the entire game percentage combined first and second halves.

UCF will move on to face their next opponent Tulsa at home on Feb. 23 at the UCF Arena.