BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Isaiah Sykes scored 21 points, posted a double-double and hit two late, key free throws as Central Florida held off Alabama-Birmingham 74-70 Wednesday night in Conference USA action.
The Knights (20-10, 9-6), who beat UAB 64-48 on Jan. 9, faced a tougher foe this time. The Blazers (15-15, 7-8) led by 13 points before leading 36-35 at halftime.
Central Florida led 62-49 midway through the second half on a layup by Kasey Wilson (15 points). But UAB rallied behind Fahro Alihodzic (15 points), Rod Rucker (16) and Jordan Swing (10).
With 2:20 remaining, Alihodzic made the first of two free throws to cut Central Florida's lead to 69-68. Keith Clanton's layup made it 71-68 at the 1:42 mark. After Sykes' two foul shots at 0:17, UCF held on. Sykes finished with 11 rebounds.
Calvin Newell was vital for UCF with 18 points, and Wilson hit four 3-pointers.