Markus Kennedy had 15 points and eight rebounds and Southern Methodist used a second-half run to defeat Central Florida 58-46 in men’s basketball Saturday. SMU (13-4, 3-2 American Athletic Conference) used a 19-5 run in the second half to slip away from UCF (9-7, 1-4). It was the Mustangs’ third win in four games. That burst helped SMU overcome a forgettable first half when they shot just 32 percent (8-of-25) and turned the ball over 10 times. SMU shot 56 percent in the second half and limited themselves to six giveaways. “I like the progress we’re making,” SMU coach Larry Brown said. “We defended pretty well, which is surprising because we turned the ball over too much, but we did a good job of taking care of things in that second half.” Tristan Spurlock was the only UCF player to reach double figures, scoring 11 points. The Knights, who lost their third straight game, got nine points from Daiquan Walker. They played nearly all the second half without their best player, Isaiah Sykes, who suffered a head injury after a collision under the basket with 18:22 left in the game. UCF had more turnovers (19) than field goals (15) in the game and shot just 31.3 percent (15-of-48) for the game. “Isaiah is as good a player as there is in the conference, so when UCF lost him, I think you could see that it really affected their team,” Brown said. “It did,” UCF coach Donnie Jones said. “But turnovers were the difference in the game today and a lot of them were unforced. We dribble too much, don’t pay attention to the defenders around us or can’t execute the extra pass that gets us a good shot. Our guys have got to slow down. They’re trying too hard.” Neither team led by more than four points until SMU took advantage of three straight UCF turnovers to score six unanswered points and take a 41-34 lead with 10 minutes left in the game. After a free throw by UCF’s Staphon Blair, Kennedy made a layup, Moore hit a 3-pointer and Kennedy ended the next possession with a thunderous dunk as the Mustangs started pulling away.
UCF's Sykes hurt in basketball loss to SMU
Florida Today | Jan 19