UCF Hits the Road to Face No. 11 Florida on Saturday

Dec. 1, 2005

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ORLANDO - The UCF men's basketball team will hit the road for the first time this season, traveling north to face 11th-ranked Florida in Gainesville on Saturday. Tip-off at the O'Connell Center is set for noon.

The Golden Knights (4-0) will be looking for their first 5-0 start since the 1993-94 campaign. UCF head coach Kirk Speraw has 199 victories and needs one win to reach the 200-career victory mark. The Gators have won four games at home this season and enter the contest with a 6-0 mark.

The game will be broadcast on Sun Sports. Larry Vettel will have the call and Bill Koss will provide the color commentary.

In Orlando, the contest will be aired on WORL-660 AM. Coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. and Steve Egan will call the action live from courtside.

GOLDEN KNIGHTS HEAD NORTH TO FACE FLORIDA UCF is off to a 4-0 start for the second-consecutive season and for the eighth time in program history. The Golden Knights will be playing on the road for the first time in 2005-06 when they travel north to Gainesville.

On Tuesday, UCF posted a strong defensive effort in the second half to hold off visiting Bethune-Cookman, 61-48. Jermaine Taylor led the way versus the Wildcats, scoring a team-high 15 points. The Golden Knights limited Bethune-Cookman to just 4-of-30 (25 percent) overall in the second half. For the contest, the visitors shot 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from three-point range. The Wildcats' 48 points were the fewest by a UCF opponent since Indiana State mustered only 49 on Dec. 1, 2002.

Josh Peppers paces the squad in scoring on the season, averaging 11.8 points per contest. Justin Rose is averaging 10 points and a team-high 6.5 boards an outing.

ABOUT THE GATORS Florida is currently ranked 11th nationally in the Associated Press poll. The Gators began the season by claiming the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic title. Playing at Madison Square Garden in New York, the squad topped No. 18 Wake Forest in the semifinals, 77-72, and then posted a 75-70 win over No. 16 Syracuse in the title game.

On Monday, the Gators recorded an 87-60 victory over visiting Alabama State. Taurean Green paced the hosts with 18 points and Al Horford totaled a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Green is the team's top scorer, averaging 15.7 points per game to go with 4.5 assists. Corey Brewer is averaging 14.3 points, 6.5 boards and two blocks an outing. Horford (11.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg) leads the squad on the glass. Behind Lee Humphrey, who has made 22-of-41 attempts from deep, Florida is shooting 42.2 percent from three-point range. Overall, the team is shooting at a 53 percent clip.

SERIES HISTORY The Golden Knights have never beaten the Gators (0-7). Kirk Speraw is 0-4 versus Florida. The teams last met on Dec. 4, 2003 in Jacksonville 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 for UCF in the contest. Peppers scored two points and Lindbeck was held scoreless in 13 minutes of action. All-time, UCF is 0-22 versus Southeastern Conference foes.

APPROACHING A MILESTONE Kirk Speraw has 199 victories and needs just one win 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 10 points per contest. His 6.5 rebounds an outing lead the team and he is also first on the squad with 19 assists. Rose is shooting 53.8 percent (14-of-26) overall and has made 6-of-13 of his attempts from three-point range.

TAYLOR-MADE VICTORY Jermaine Taylor had his best game as a Golden Knight in the victory over Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday. The freshman scored a team-best 15 points in 21 minutes off of the bench and hit four treys in the victory. With Bethune-Cookman leading by a point with 15 minutes remaining in the contest, Taylor took over, scoring seven-consecutive points. He started the personal run with back-to-back three-pointers and then had a layup to give UCF a 42-35 edge with 12:30 on the clock.

The Tavares, Fla., native is averaging 6.8 points in 13.5 minutes per game. He is the cousin of Darryl Davis, the third-leading scorer in UCF history (1,540). Davis played at the school from 1991-95 and was coached by Kirk Speraw for two years.

UCF-FLORIDA CONNECTIONS Kirk Speraw served as an assistant coach at Florida from 1990-93 under Lon Kruger. With Speraw on the staff, the Gators made trips to the National Invitation Tournament in 1992 and 1993. Speraw helped mentor some of greatest players in school history, including Stacey Poole, Dan Cross and Andrew Declerq.

UCF assistant coach Craig Brown starred at Florida from 1991-94. Brown totaled 1,419 points as a Gator, good for 16th all-time at Florida. He concluded his career as Florida's all-time leader in three-point field goals made with 186. Brown was the team captain on Florida's 1994 Final Four squad. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament's East Regional that year. Brown also finished his collegiate career third on the Gator all-time steals list (158) and fifth on the assists chart (305).

UCF AGAINST NATIONALLY RANKED TEAMS UCF will be looking for its second win in program history against a ranked opponent. On Dec. 12, 2002, the Golden Knights topped No. 25 (Associated Press) College of Charleston, 82-64, in Orlando. Since the start of the 2001-02 season, UCF is 1-3 against nationally ranked foes.

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 eight points per game and is tied for second on the team, averaging 3.3 assists an outing.

STATE SUCCESS This year, UCF is 4-0 against in-state opponents. The Golden Knights begin the year with six-consecutive games versus Sunshine State squads. Since the start of the 2001-02 campaign, UCF is 25-9 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 60 swats.

TOUGH "D" UCF has held its last 13 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.

THIS DATE IN UCF HISTORY On Dec. 3, 1997, UCF registered a 73-68 win at Winthrop. Mark Jones led the Golden Knights, recording a double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds. UCF is 4-6 all-time on games played on Dec. 3.

UP NEXT After a week off for final exams, UCF returns to action on the road at Florida Atlantic on Dec. 13. Tip-off in Boca Raton is slated for 7 p.m... The two former Atlantic Sun Conference rivals will be meeting in a non-league game for the first time since Jan. 19, 1994... UCF holds a 20-6 edge in the all-time series, including a 9-3 mark at Florida Atlantic... A year ago, the squads played twice in conference action. On Jan. 13, UCF held on for a 73-70 win in Boca Raton. Kingsley Edwards scored 20 points in the win. A week later on Jan. 20, the Owls took a 73-61 contest at UCF. Anthony Williams had a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards for the Golden Knights.