ORLANDO, Fla. -- Road trips continue to be a pleasant experience for the Memphis Tigers.
The No. 22-ranked Tigers won their 16th straight conference road game Wednesday night, methodically defeating Central Florida 69-59 behind 17 points from point guard Joe Jackson and 12 apiece from backcourt mates Chris Crawford and Michael Dixon.
It was the fourth straight road win for Memphis (16-4, 6-2) since joining the American Athletic Conference this season and follows 12 straight wins away from home as a member of Conference USA. UCF (9-9, 1-6) lost its fifth straight.
"The reason we're able to win on the road is because we've got good players," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. "I don't care what anyone says, winning on the road is tough and that was a tough game. But our players made shots, they got stops and that's how you're going to win games on the road."
The Tigers limited UCF to just 29 percent shooting in the second half and outscored the Knights 13-5 in the final eight minutes of the game.
"We had a lot of blown coverages in the first half," Crawford said. "It wasn't just one guy, it was the whole group not playing together, but made the adjustments at halftime and held them down."
The Tigers focused on UCF forward Isaiah Sykes, who had 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists while playing 39 minutes. The Knights senior didn't get much help from his teammates as only guard Matt Williams reached double figures with 13.
That didn't matter much in the first half, when Sykes scored 16 points and had seven rebounds, but he was noticeably fatigued the last 20 minutes, hitting just four of 11 shots from the field. His teammates combined to hit just five of 20.
"Isaiah Sykes was literally Magic Johnson in the first half," Pastner said. "He was high, high level that first half, but we finally started guarding him in the second half."
"You've got to make some shots somewhere to loosen things up," UCF coach Donnie Jones said. "Matt made a few, but we need to find somebody else to make a 3-pointer and stretch things out for everybody."
The Knights were down only 56-54 with 8:53 left in the game a putback dunk by forward Tristan Spurlock, but the offense went flat the rest of the game. Memphis outscored UCF 13-5 the rest of the game, forcing the Knights to try and score from the perimeter where they struggled all night.
"You get five or six empty possessions in a row and it really takes it all out of your team," Jones said. "We got some open shots, but just couldn't knock one down."
After a blistering first half that ended in a 39-all tie, the pace slowed considerably in the second half.
Memphis was just 5 of 17 the first 10 minutes of the second half, but it was good enough to take a 56-52 lead after a three-point play by Dixon. The Tigers' defense took away the perimeter from UCF, but still couldn't keep the Knights away from the basket.
UCF got layups or putbacks on six of its first seven baskets of the half. A dunk by Spurlock pulled the Knights within 56-54 with 8:53 left in the game, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the game.
The first half was a track meet with Memphis riding its jump shooters and UCF taking advantage of second-chance opportunities against a porous zone defense.
Memphis shot 62.5 percent (15 of 24), including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. The Tigers got 10 points and four assists from Jackson and six points apiece from forwards David Pellom and Austin Nichols, but didn't take care of the defensive boards and it cost them.
UCF got second-chance putbacks on four of its seven offensive rebounds to stay right with Memphis. Sykes had three of the putbacks on his way to 16 points and seven boards in the half.
The Tigers hit five of their first six shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, but couldn't put any distance between themselves and the Knights until they perked up at the defensive end. The Tigers turned a pair of UCF turnovers into fastbreak layup by Pellom and Dixon and slipped away to a 25-18 lead.
Sykes and center Stephon Blair's work on the offensive glass kept UCF close, but it was back-to-back 3-pointers from Williams and freshman reserve guard Steven Haney that gave UCF its first lead and helped the Knights build a 35-32 lead with 2:12 left in the half.
NOTES: Memphis now 15-1 all-time against UCF. ... Central Florida PG Calvin Newell was 0-for-11 from the field. ... Memphis G Chris Crawford scored all 12 of his points on 3-pointers. ... UCF outrebounded Memphis 36-31. The Knights lead the AAC in rebounding with 39.9 per game.