UCF to Open 2005-06 Campaign on Friday

Nov. 16, 2005

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ORLANDO - UCF will kickoff the college basketball season on Friday evening when the Golden Knights open their 2005-06 campaign, facing cross-town foe Rollins (1-0) at 8 p.m. at UCF Arena. The Golden Knights will be playing the first of four-consecutive games at home to begin the year.

Tickets for the game are still available. Call (407) UCF-GOLD for more information or to purchase tickets.

The contest will be aired live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, WQTM - 740 THE TEAM. Scott Adams will have the call live from courtside. Audio of the contest is also available on www.UCFathletics.com as part of the "Golden Knights All-Access" package.

OPENING NIGHT UCF opens its 2005-06 campaign against Rollins on Friday evening at UCF Arena. The Golden Knights made their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2004-05 and finished the campaign with a 24-9 mark. Head coach Kirk Speraw's squad is entering its first campaign as a member of Conference USA. The Golden Knights are led by Josh Peppers (13.1 ppg last year) and Anthony Williams (11.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg). UCF returns seven letterwinners from a year ago. Rollins brings back three starters from a team that went 14-14 last year. Deon Troupe is the top returning scorer at 13 points per game. On Tuesday, the Tars opened their regular season campaign with a 90-61 home win over Southeastern University. Troupe scored 17 points in the victory and Jonny Reibel totaled 16 points and seven assists. Jordan Kolosey finished with 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds. On Nov. 11, the Tars topped host Stetson, 70-67, in an exhibition contest. John Thinnes hit five treys in the win on his way to 19 points against the Hatters.

HONORING A LEGEND At halftime against Rollins, UCF will honor a former coaching great when the UCF Arena floor is declared "Torchy Clark Court." Eugene "Torchy" Clark, who served as the first head coach in school history, guided the Golden Knights from 1969-83. During his 14 seasons at UCF, the Golden Knights posted a 274-89 (.754) mark and the program became a state and national power at the Division II level, making six NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1978, Clark guided UCF to the Division II Final Four and the team finished the year with a 26-4 record, the best in school history. His 274 victories are the most in school history. Once dedicated, the arena floor will be the only court at the Division I level in the state of Florida to honor an individual.

SERIES HISTORY UCF and Rollins will be meeting on the hardwood for the 39th time. The contest will mark the first meeting between the two schools since 1998. The Golden Knights own a 24-15 edge in the all-time series, including a 12-5 mark at home. Under head coach Kirk Speraw, UCF is 3-0 versus the Tars. The former Sunshine State rivals met 16 times in the 1970s and then on 17 occasions in the 1980s. The squads played four times in the early 1990s, but have only met once since 1994. In the last meeting on Nov. 13, 1998, the host Golden Knights claimed a 104-98 victory in front of 2,508 fans. Brad Traina led five UCF players in double-figures with 28 points. Traina was 9-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three-point range, and grabbed eight rebounds. Mario Lovett recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Off the bench, Beronti Simms totaled 16 points in just 23 minutes of action. Cory Perry nearly had a double-double with 12 points and nine assists.

OPENING UP UCF has claimed two consecutive season openers and is 19-12 all-time in season openers. During the Kirk Speraw era, the team is 7-5 in season openers. That mark includes three victories over Rollins.

GREAT STARTS Dating back to the 2001-02 season, the Golden Knights are 13-2 in the month of November. A year ago, the team went 4-0 during the month. The 2004-05 mark included three victories on the way to the BP Top of the World Classic title in Fairbanks, Alaska. Under head coach Kirk Speraw, the team is 23-16 in November.

A WHOLE NEW LEAGUE UCF is in its first campaign as a member of Conference USA after moving from the Atlantic Sun. The Golden Knights dominated competition in the A-Sun, winning 53 conference games in the last four years and claiming a pair of league tournament titles. C-USA marks the Golden Knights third conference affiliation since joining the Division I ranks in 1984-85. The program originally joined the American South, which then became the Sun Belt. In 1992, the school joined the A-Sun. All-time, UCF is 3-8 against current C-USA squads. That 3-8 record includes a 2-0 showing against East Carolina, a team that the Golden Knights will face twice in 2005-06. The squad last met a C-USA foe in 2002, beating Tulane (66-61) at the Green Wave's University Hoops Classic.

UCF PICKED 5TH IN C-USA POLL According to a vote by the Conference USA head coaches, UCF was picked to finish in a tie for fifth in the league, along with Rice. The Golden Knights were selected behind Memphis (1), UAB (2), Houston (3) and UTEP (4). Trailing UCF was SMU (7), Southern Miss (8), Tulsa (9), East Carolina (10), Tulane (11) and Marshall (12).

A HISTORIC CONTEST When UCF meets Stetson at home on Nov. 26, the contest will mark the 1,000th game in school history. UCF played its first game on Nov. 21, 1969, easing past Massey Tech, 99-38, at home.

TOUGH "D" UCF has held its last nine opponents to below 80 points. The last team to score more than 80 points versus the Golden Knights was Jacksonville on Feb. 12. The Dolphins claimed an 83-82 victory in overtime at home.

THE NEW GUARD UCF will have the services of a pair of sophomore transfers in the backcourt this year. Dave Noel (UNC-Wilmington) and Mike O'Donnell (NC State) are both competing for the starting point guard position. As a freshman in 2003-04, Noel averaged 3.7 points and shot 50.7 percent from the floor in 26 games. That same season, O'Donnell made seven starts for the Wolfpack and averaged 2.4 points per contest. Both players practiced with the team while redshirting last season.

SUNSHINE STATERS UCF's 2005-06 roster features five players from the state of Florida. Dave Noel (Boynton Beach), Mike O'Donnell (Largo), Lavell Payne (Ft. Lauderdale), Drew Speraw (Oviedo) and Jermaine Taylor (Tavares) all hail from the Sunshine State. Jacob Loucks (Clearwater) is redshirting this year after transferring from the University of Mobile. A year ago, the squad had just two in-state players (Adam Picow, Albert Smidebush) on the roster.

SUMMER VACATION This past summer, the Golden Knights toured Europe, playing exhibition games against professional squads. The UCF contingent visited Belgium, Holland and France. During the tour, the team posted a 4-1 mark. UCF's seven returning letterwinners, plus transfers Dave Noel and Mike O'Donnell, were all eligible to play while overseas. Due to NCAA rules, incoming freshmen and transfers are not eligible to compete during summer tours. Josh Peppers paced the squad offensively in Europe, averaging 18.8 points to go with a team-best 7.4 rebounds per contest. Noel averaged 11.8 points, four assists and 2.2 steals a game.

BLOCK PARTY A year ago in his first season at UCF, Anthony Williams totaled 53 blocks which ranked fourth on the program's single-season register. Williams enters the 2005-06 campaign 10th all-time in school history with 53 swats.

PRESEASON TUNE-UP Josh Peppers scored 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor as UCF eased to a 70-53 exhibition victory over visiting Barry on Nov. 9 at UCF Arena. Peppers hit three treys and also added six rebounds and four assists in the win. The Golden Knights led 34-14 at intermission after limiting Barry to just 5-of-26 (19.2 percent) shooting from the field in the first half. Justin Rose grabbed a game-high nine rebounds to go with six points and two steals. UCF shot 57.1 percent overall for the game. For the exhibition contest, 1,255 fans were in attendance, one of the top crowds in school history to witness a preseason game.

A FUTURE GOLDEN KNIGHT UCF head coach Kirk Speraw announced on Nov. 9 that Tony Davis has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Golden Knights. Davis, a 6-foot-7 forward from Sarasota, Fla., will join the program in the fall of 2006. He is entering his senior campaign at Riverview High School. Following the 2004-05 campaign, he earned third-team All-State Class 6A honors after averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds per contest.

ON THE AIR All of UCF's games are aired live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 THE TEAM - AM. "The Voice of the Golden Knights," Marc Daniels, will call the action from courtside. The broadcasts are also available on the world wide web at www.UCFathletics.com.

THIS DATE IN UCF HISTORY On Nov. 18, 2004, UCF opened its season at the BP Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, facing tournament host Alaska-Fairbanks. Making his Golden Knight debut, Anthony Williams scored 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor to help UCF to a 74-63 victory. Will Bakanowsky totaled 13 points and six rebounds in the win. The Golden Knights would go on to win two more games to claim the tournament title.

UP NEXT The Golden Knights host Nova Southeastern on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. The teams have not met since the 1997-98 season. UCF leads the all-time series, 2-0. In the last meeting, the Golden Knights claimed an 86-62 victory at home on Dec. 13, 1997. Mark Jones led UCF in that contest, recording 26 points.