Isaiah Sykes scored 24 points as the host Knights ended the Cougars’ four-game winning streak in the regular-season finale for both teams. Sykes, who missed Tuesday’s overtime loss at Temple with a foot injury, added eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals for Central Florida (12-17, 4-14 AAC), which moved out of its last-place tie with South Florida and Temple. Daiquan Walker exploded for a career-high 20 points – all in the second half – while Matt Williams chipped in with 12. Jherrod Stiggers knocked down five 3-pointers and finished with a career-best 22 points while L.J. Rose tallied 16 points and 10 assists as Houston (16-15, 8-10) gave up its most points since a 112-99 loss at Nevada on Nov. 21, 2009. The Cougars, who locked themselves into the sixth seed in next week’s AAC tournament with Tuesday’s victory over South Florida, also received 18 points from Danuel House. Central Florida scored the first seven points and never looked back as seven Knights scored by the time Houston had six points. Sykes scored 14 of Central Florida’s final 36 first-half points, including his ninth 3-pointer of the season to make it 26-6 with 10:54 left, while Tristan Spurlock drained another triple less than four minutes later to give the Knights their biggest lead of the game at 36-11. Stiggers hit back-to-back 3-pointers near the end of the half as the Cougars began to slowly chip away at their huge deficit after the break. Houston rallied within 14 points on two occasions over the first 9 1/2 minutes of the second half, but Williams and then Walker each drilled a long-range jumper to keep the Knights comfortably ahead. GAME NOTEBOOK: Sykes is the only player in the AAC to rank among the top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. … Houston was attempting to win five straight conference games for the first time since 2005-06. … F TaShawn Thomas, who entered Friday as the Cougars’ leading scorer (15.8) and with the conference’s second-best field-goal percentage (.596), was held to eight points and shot a combined 6-for-20 in two games against the Knights this season.
Central Florida 104, Houston 83
ProSportsDaily | Mar 8