GAME NOTES: The UCF Knights try to string back-to-back wins together on
Saturday when they welcome East Carolina for a Conference USA bout at UCF
After having their four-game winning streak stopped at the hands of Marshall
on Feb. 2, UCF bounced back with a win over Southern Miss on Wednesday, as
Isaiah Sykes drained a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left to lift the
Knights to a 60-58 victory.
Sykes finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assists for UCF, which
is two games back of the conference lead. Tristan Spurlock netted a team-high
18 points, Calvin Newell added 13 points. Keith Clanton grabbed nine boards
and blocked seven shots and Matt Williams provided 11 points off the bench in
East Carolina, meanwhile, snapped a two-game losing streak last Saturday at
Rice, as Maurice Kemp poured in a career-best 33 points to lead the Pirates to
a 79-63 win. Ty Armstrong added 22 points and Miguel Paul dished out six
assists for ECU, which won for only the second time in its last five tries.
The Pirates are now 4-4 in C-USA, marking only the second time the school has
ended the first half of the conference season at or above. 500.
The Knights swept the season series in 2011-12, but ECU claimed the first
matchup this season. UCF though, leads the all-time series, 13-6.
Clanton leads UCF and is fourth in the Conference USA with 16.1 points per
game. His 9.3 rebounding average is the third best in the league and he needs
one more board to become the school's all-time leader in rebounds. Sykes also
adds noticeable scoring punch with 15.5 points per game. UCF is the middle of
the road in the C-USA in both scoring offense (71.0 ppg) and scoring defense
(64.4 ppg). It has managed to knock off some notable programs in South
Florida, Belmont, and UAB this season despite having the second worst turnover
margin (-2.1) in the C-USA.
The Pirates are the highest scoring team in the conference (77.2 ppg). That
scoring average is also among the top 25 marks in the country as well. Ball
movement has been the key for East Carolina which has handed out the eighth-
most assists nationally (17.1 pg). Kemp currently leads Conference USA in
scoring with 17.9 points per game, while averaging a league-best 17.5 points
per game in conference play. Kemp also ranks among the league's top 15 overall
leaders in steals (5th), rebounding (8th), blocks (9th), field-goal percentage
(11th) and free-throw percentage (15th). Paul (12.9 ppg,6.0 apg) has led the
team's impressive distribution efforts as the second leading assist-man in the
The Pirates are very good at distributing the basketball and Kemp is as good
as any player in the nation. However, they are going to need more than just
him if they want to get past the Knights in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 81, East Carolina 74