Golden Knights Looking for 4-0 Start

Nov. 28, 2005

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ORLANDO - The UCF men's basketball team will be looking to continue its success at home when it hosts local foe Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday evening. Tip-off at Torchy Clark Court is slated for 7:30 p.m. The Golden Knights (3-0) have won eight-consecutive games at home.

Bethune-Cookman enters the game with a 2-3 mark on the season.

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

The game 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 LOOKS FOR SECOND-CONSECUTIVE 4-0 START The Golden Knights will be looking to post their second-consecutive 4-0 start when they host Bethune-Cookman. This past Saturday, UCF held on for a 74-66 win over local rival Stetson. Josh Peppers and Justin Rose both scored 16 points against the Hatters. Mike O'Donnell posted 14 points in the victory.

Peppers is UCF's top scorer on the year, averaging 13.3 points per contest. In addition to 12.7 points per game, Rose is averaging a team-best 7.3 rebounds. He is shooting 65 percent from the floor and has also totaled 14 assists. O'Donnell is averaging 10.7 points an outing. The Golden Knights are shooting just 57.5 percent at the free-throw line so far this season.

ABOUT THE WILDCATS Bethune-Cookman improved to 2-3 on the season with an 81-58 home victory over Savannah State on Saturday. Michael Williams made 12-of-19 attempts from the floor on his way to a game-high 28 points for the Wildcats. He added 10 rebounds for the double-double. Sam Barber added 19 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Bethune-Cookman held a 41-26 edge on the glass and shot 51.7 percent overall for the game. The Wildcats struggled from three-point range, making just 1-of-12 (8.3 percent) from deep.

Antonio Webb leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.2 points per contest. Williams is averaging a team-best 8.4 boards to go with 14.4 points an outing. The Wildcats are shooting 38 percent overall and 26.3 percent from behind-the-arc. In its five games in 2005-06, the team has faced a pair of tough opponents, falling at Syracuse (68-37) and at Clemson (84-55).

SERIES HISTORY 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. All-time, the Golden Knights are 20-18 against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schools. In addition to Bethune-Cookman, UCF also faces MEAC-member Norfolk State this season.

APPROACHING A MILESTONE Kirk Speraw has 198 victories and needs just two 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.

WELL-ROUNDED ROSE Justin Rose has started his senior season in impressive fashion. In his second campaign at UCF, Rose is starting for the first time and is showing off all facets of his game. The shooting guard is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.7 points per contest. His 7.3 rebounds an outing lead the team and he is also first on the squad with 14 assists. Rose is shooting 65 percent (13-of-20) overall and has made 6-of-10 of his attempts from three-point range.

GREAT STARTS Dating back to the 2001-02 season, the Golden Knights are 16-2 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/BETHUNE-COOKMAN CONNECTIONS Dave Noel and Bethune-Cookman junior forward Sam Barber both hail from Palm Beach County. Barber played at Lake Worth High School and his team frequently faced Noel's Boynton Beach High School squad.

RUNNING THE SHOW With the departure of Gary Johnson after last season, UCF had a void at the point guard position. So far in 2005-06, Mike O'Donnell has handled the point guard duties with ease. In his first season with the Golden Knights after transferring from NC State, O'Donnell is helping UCF push the tempo. He is averaging 10.7 points per game and is second on the team, averaging 4.3 assists an outing.

STATE SUCCESS UCF begins the season with six-consecutive games against in-state opponents. Since the start of the 2001-02 campaign, UCF is 24-9 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 59 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. 29, 2002, UCF defeated host Tulane, 66-61, in the opening game of the University Hoops Classic in New Orleans. Ray Abellard hit seven free throws in the final 2:30 to lead the Golden Knights to the win. Abellard finished with 22 points. Making his first collegiate start as a freshman, Troy Lindbeck recorded 13 points against the Green Wave. UCF went on to win the tournament and Abellard was named the event's MVP.

UP NEXT UCF hits the road for the first time this season, facing Florida on Saturday at Noon. The game will be televised live on Sun Sports... The Golden Knights have never beaten Florida (0-7). Kirk Speraw is 0-4 against the Gators. He served as an assistant coach at Florida from 1990-93 under Lon Kruger... The teams last met in Jacksonville on Dec. 4, 2003, with the Gators taking a 59-39 victory. UCF's 39 points were the lowest total in the school's Division I history. The Golden Knights shot just 25.8 percent from the floor and made 5-of-28 (18.5 percent) of its attempts from deep. Josh Bodden (14) was the only UCF player to finish with double-figures in scoring... Josh Peppers and Troy Lindbeck both saw action in the loss. Peppers scored two points and Lindbeck was held scoreless in 13 minutes of action... All-time, UCF is 0-22 versus Southeastern Conference foes.