UCF Faces Local Rival Stetson on Saturday

Nov. 24, 2005

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ORLANDO - The UCF men's basketball team will face a familiar opponent on Saturday when local rival Stetson travels to UCF Arena. Tip-off at Torchy Clark Court is slated for 7:30 p.m. The Golden Knights have won eight in a row against the Hatters.

UCF enters the contest with a 2-0 mark on the year, while the Hatters (0-3) are seeking their first victory of the season.

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

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

UCF FACES LOCAL RIVAL The Golden Knights will be looking to begin the season 3-0 for the second-consecutive year. On Tuesday, UCF pulled away in the second half to earn an 86-67 victory over visiting Nova Southeastern. Josh Peppers scored a game-high 18 points and Lavell Payne added 15 points and six rebounds. Mike O'Donnell contributed with 14 points and six assists in the win. On the season, Troy Lindbeck is averaging a team-high 13 points. All seven of his made field goals have come from three-point range. Payne and Peppers are both averaging 12 points an outing and Anthony Williams (8.0 rpg) is the squad's top rebounder.

ABOUT THE HATTERS Stetson opened the season with three games last weekend at the Hispanic College Fund Classic in Raleigh, N.C. The Hatters lost all three outings, falling to host NC State (91-61), Delaware (67-64) and The Citadel (73-60). On Sunday versus The Citadel, Will Holloman scored a career-high 17 points. Anthony Register paces the Hatters in scoring, averaging 14.0 points per game. Holloman and E.J. Gordon are both averaging 10.3 points an outing and Gordon is tops in rebounding (5.3 rpg). Stetson is shooting 37 percent from the floor and has been outscored by an average of 15.3 points per game.

SERIES HISTORY The Golden Knights lead the all-time series, 19-15, including a 9-8 edge at home. Kirk Speraw owns a 17-8 mark against the Hatters. UCF has won eight-consecutive games versus Stetson. A year ago, the teams met twice as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. On Jan. 11 in Orlando, the hosts claimed a 70-66 victory behind 18 points and six rebounds from Marcus Johnson. In DeLand on Feb. 10, Josh Peppers posted 19 points to lift UCF to a 71-62 win. In four career contests against the Hatters, Peppers is averaging 10.3 points per game.

APPROACHING A MILESTONE Kirk Speraw has 197 victories and needs just three wins to reach the 200-career victory mark. Speraw would join Eugene "Torchy" Clark as the only two coaches in UCF history to win at least 200 contests.

A HISTORIC CONTEST UCF's game with Stetson 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.

THE BENCH SQUAD Through two contests this season, UCF's bench has been making major contributions. The Golden Knights' reserves are averaging 32 points per game. On Nov. 18 against Rollins, Troy Lindbeck recorded a game-high 20 points. In the team's win over Nova Southeastern on Tuesday, Justin Rose came off the bench to score 10 points and Anthony Williams and Jermaine Taylor each totaled eight points.

GREAT STARTS Dating back to the 2001-02 season, the Golden Knights are 15-2 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.

UCF-STETSON CONNECTIONS Mike O'Donnell and Stetson guard Gabe McMillen both hail from Largo, Fla. The two were members of the same AAU team while in middle school for one season.

HOUSE OF PAYNE In only his second contest as a Golden Knight, Lavell Payne earned a start against Nova Southeastern on Tuesday and did not disappoint. Payne shot 6-of-8 from the field on his way to 15 points. The junior-college transfer added six boards in the victory.

STATE SUCCESS UCF begins the season with seven-consecutive games against in-state opponents. Since the start of the 2001-02 campaign, UCF is 23-9 against in-state opponents. Last season, the squad went 3-2 versus Florida programs after posting a 7-1 mark versus Sunshine State teams in 2003-04.

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 is eighth all-time at UCF with 58 swats.

A LOOK AHEAD Head coach Kirk Speraw announced on Nov. 22 that Andre Thornton has signed a National Letter of Intent and will join UCF in the fall of 2006. Thornton is a 6-foot-7 power forward in his senior year at Mitchell High School in Memphis, Tenn. In 2004-05, he averaged 15.9 points and nine rebounds per game and earned all-metro honors from the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. He is a member of one of the top prep squads in the nation and his team will make a pair of national television appearances on ESPN. Academically, he is ranked first out of 198 seniors in his class. On Nov. 9, Tony Davis has signed an NLI to play for the Golden Knights. Davis is a 6-foot-7 forward from Sarasota, Fla. He attends 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.

THIS DATE IN UCF HISTORY On Nov. 26, 2000, UCF defeated host Hawaii Pacific, 80-67, in consolation action at the Hawaii Pacific Thanksgiving Tournament in Kapolei. The Golden Knights were led by Mario Lovett and Paul Reed, who both recorded double-doubles for UCF. Lovett had 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Reed contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Golden Knights used a 59 percent shooting performance from the floor in the second half to pull away.

UP NEXT UCF concludes its four-game homestand on Tuesday, hosting local foe Bethune-Cookman at 7:30 p.m... The Golden Knights lead the all-time series, 9-7. The squads have not met since the 1997-98 season. In the last meeting on Nov. 25, 1997, the Golden Knights claimed a 75-57 victory in Daytona Beach. Mark Jones paced UCF in that contest scoring 17 points and posting 12 rebounds... Kirk Speraw is 3-1 against the Wildcats... At home, UCF is 6-4 against Bethune-Cookman.