Sykes’ double-double powers Knights to 63-45 win over UTEP

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Bryan Levine / Valencia Voice

Isaiah Sykes controls the ball during UCF's 63-45 win over UTEP. Sykes scored 23 points and brought down 11 rebounds.

Isaiah Sykes scored in the double digits for the 18th time in his career Saturday night, as the UCF Knights went on to win their 20th game of the season, 63-45 over Texas-El Paso at the UCF Arena.

Sykes played 38 minutes and put up 23 points for UCF, including one three pointer. He also had 11 rebounds of the Knight’s 37 total.

“He’s starting to shoot threes now,” said Jones “He’s making me look like I’m a good coach or something when he’s shooting a ball like that. I’m very proud of him and his effort really set the tone for our team tonight.”

Keith Clanton started his 85th consecutive game at the power forward position, and scored 12 points in the Knight’s win against UTEP. He played a total of 32 minutes of tonight’s game.

“We know every win counts,” said Clanton of the importance of this upcoming week in their last conference home game of the season.

The Knights started three of their usual players, but added Tristan Spurlock and Kasey Wilson to the evening’s starting line up. The decision to bench Josh Crittle and A.J. Rompza for the first half of the game, was due to “coach’s rules” according Jones.

The start for Wilson was the first of his career. He played in 17 minutes for the Knights. Wilson scored four points and had three blocks against the Miners. Wilson is averaging 13.1 minutes per game, with 10.3 points.

“Our guys showed great effort tonight, that was a big key in the game,” said head coach Donnie Jones.

The Knights will head to Memphis for their next game on Tuesday, their second meeting of the season. The Knights won their first game against Memphis in January 68-67 at the UCF Arena.