Sykes, UCF rally past Wave, 58-50

NEW ORLEANS — Isaiah Sykes had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Central Florida overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat Tulane 58-50 on Wednesday night in men’s college basketball.

Kasey Wilson scored 12 points, and Keith Clanton had eight points and 10 rebounds for the Golden Knights (15-5, 5-1 Conference USA), who have won four in a row and six of their past seven.

Josh Davis accumulated 18 points and nine rebounds, and Ricky Tarrant scored 10 points for the Green Wave (14-7, 2-4), who coming in had won 12 of 13 at home this season.

Trailing 28-21 at halftime, UCF took a 32-31 lead on Wilson’s layup at 15:02 and made it 42-36 on Wilson’s jumper at 8:54. The lead reached 51-41 at 1:55 on a layup by Sykes, who has scored at least 20 points in four consecutive games.

Tulane committed 19 turnovers, and Central Florida beat Tulane 26-9 in points off turnovers.

Stephen F. Austin 59, McNeese State 39: In Lake Charles, Taylor Smith had 21 points, a career-high 18 rebounds and six blocks as Stephen F. Austin rolled over McNeese State, holding the Cowboys to nine first-half points.

The Lumberjacks (17-2, 8-1 Southland Conference), who swept the season series, also defeated the Cowboys 71-43 on Jan. 5 after leading 23-19 at halftime. This time, Stephen F. Austin capitalized on McNeese State’s atrocious first-half shooting — 15.4 percent (4 of 26), including 0 of 6 from long range— to lead 26-9 at intermission.

The Cowboys (8-11, 2-7) closed to 36-27 with 9:41 left, but could get no closer. At 43-33, the Lumberjacks reeled off 10 straight points.

McNeese State’s point total was its lowest since losing to Stephen F. Austin 64-39 on Jan. 19, 2008.

Desharick Guidry’s nine points led the Cowboys, who were outshot 42.5 percent (17-of-40) to 24.5 percent (13 of 53) and outrebounded 46-22.

Women

NORTH TEXAS 64, ULL 46: In Lafayette, North Texas scored the final nine points of the first half to break a tied game, carried that momentum over into the start of the second half to beat the Ragin’ Cajuns at Earl K. Long Gym.

The Mean Green (8-13, 7-5 Sun Belt) used the nine-point spurt before intermission to take a 26-17 lead into the locker room. The visitors added another six unanswered in the first two minutes of the second half to create a comfortable margin, 33-17.

Boosted by a trio of three-pointers from Brandi Schambough, the Ragin’ Cajuns (7-14, 1-11 Sun Belt) found an offensive spark and outscored North Texas 19-9 to cut the deficit to 42-36 with 9:32 remaining.

Schambough’s third triple brought UL within single digits at 42-34, then Robbie Brown collected a steal and a layup at the 9:32 mark to drop the Mean Green’s lead, which once was 16 points, down to six.

North Texas responded with a three-point play from Alexis Hyder at 9:05 to extend the lead to 45-36, then turned up the pressure on defense to turn away the hopes of a Cajuns comeback.

The Cajuns were led by Ashley Benjamin’s 10 points — the lone player on the team in double digits.

The Mean Green saw three players reach double digits led by a game-high 14 points from Hyder.

McNEESE STATE 66, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 60: In Lake Charles, all three Baggett sisters scoredd in double figures to lead McNeese State to a Southland Conference win.

The youngest of the Baggett’s, Allison scored a career high 19 on 8-of-16 from the field including 3-of-7 from 3-point range. She also grabbed four rebounds and was credited with two steals.

Baggett’s older sisters, senior twins Caitlyn and Ashlyn, also scored in double figures with 19 and 12 points, respectively. Caitlyn Baggett was 3-of-10 from the field but nearly perfect from the free-throw line, making 13 of 14 attempts. Ashlyn Baggett was 4-of-18 from the field with one 3-pointer and 3-of-4 on free throws.

Junior Cecilia Okoye led the Cowgirls with eight rebounds, while Shayln Riley and Charity Robinson came off the bench to grab five rebounds apiece.

Stephen F. Austin was led by Porsha Robert’s who collected a double-double with game highs, 21 points and 10 rebounds.

ULM 90, FLORIDA ATLANTIC 86: In Boca Raton, Fla., Louisiana-Monroe (5-15, 3-8 Sun Belt) used an offensive explosion to beat Florida Atlantic (10-10, 7-5).

ULM collected its first back-to-back wins of the season as it tied up the all-time series at four wins apiece while handing FAU its first home Sun Belt loss of the season.

Five Warhawks scored in double figures for the 11th time in program history and the second time this season. Alexar and Elexar Tugler led ULM with 19 points, a career-high for Elexar while Alexar also pulled down 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Ashleigh Simmons collected her fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Christina Gray finished with 12 points but took two charges towards the end of the game, hit two clutch free throws and collected a steal at a crucial time. Alayshia Hunter chipped in 11 points.

Florida Atlantic’s Breana Turner led all scorers with a career-high 32 points.