Golden Knights Return to the Court at FAU

Dec. 11, 2005

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ORLANDO - After 10 days off for final exams, the UCF men's basketball team returns to the hardwood on Tuesday evening, facing Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton. Tip-off at FAU Gymnasium is slated for 7 p.m.

The Golden Knights (4-1) will be playing away from home for only the second time this season. After starting the year 0-2, Florida Atlantic (2-2) has won two-consecutive contests at home.

Tuesday's 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 VISITS OLD FOE FLORIDA ATLANTIC The Golden Knights return to action following an 80-47 loss at 11th-ranked Florida on Dec. 3. UCF committed 19 turnovers versus the Gators and shot just 2-of-8 from three-point range. Justin Rose was the lone UCF player to finish with double-digits in scoring, recording 12 points. The loss at Florida snapped a nine-game regular season winning streak for the Golden Knights. The squad was held to below 50 points for the first time since Pittsburgh limited UCF to 44 points on March 19, 2004 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

On the year, UCF is shooting 46.7 percent overall, while opponents are shooting at a 40.5 percent clip. The Golden Knights are averaging 15 turnovers per contest and are shooting 57.4 percent from the free-throw line.

ABOUT THE OWLS Florida Atlantic improved to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Atlantic Sun with a 107-104 double-overtime win at home over Jacksonville on Dec. 4. DeAndre Rice scored 29 points and Rodney Webb totaled 25 points and 10 rebounds in the win. The Owls shot 57.1 percent overall against the Dolphins.

In Florida Atlantic's two victories this season, the team has won by a combined five points. On the year, Rice, who has made only one start, leads the squad with a 23.3 points per game average. He has connected on 10-of-18 attempts from three-point range. Webb is averaging 15.8 points per game and nine rebounds. Brent Crews is averaging 36.2 minutes per game at point guard and has recorded 19 assists. The Owls will conclude a three-game homestand versus UCF.

SERIES HISTORY The 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 in Boca Raton. Kirk Speraw is 18-6 against the Owls. The Golden Knights have claimed six of the last seven series matchups.

A year ago, the squads played twice in league 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.

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 is doing it all for the Golden Knights. In his second campaign at UCF, he is starting for the first time and is showing off all facets of his game. The shooting guard is first on the team in scoring (10.4), rebounding (5.6) and assists (3.8) per game. Rose is shooting 56.3 percent overall and has made 6-of-13 of his attempts from three-point range. His 2.71 assists-to-turnover ratio ranks second among all Conference USA players.

THE BENCH MOB UCF's reserves are averaging 25 points per game this season. Versus Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 29, the team's reserves scored 32 points, compared to 29 for the starting five. At No. 11 Florida on Dec. 3, Marcus Johnson and Lavell Payne both scored six points off the bench. Johnson posted a team-best six rebounds and Payne had a game-high three blocks.

40 MINUTES UCF has 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes per contest. Justin Rose is averaging a team-high 29 minutes per contest and Kirk Speraw has used 12 players in all but one game this season. Kenrick Zondervan (2.4 mpg) and walk-on Drew Speraw (1.4) are the only Golden Knights who are not averaging double-figures in minutes.

UCF-FAU CONNECTIONS UCF has a pair of players from south Florida on the roster, including one from Palm Beach County. Dave Noel hails from Boynton Beach and attended Boynton Beach High School. Lavell Payne is from Ft. Lauderdale and prepped at Dillard High School.

UCF administrative assistant Micah Byars spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Chipola College, where he coached current Florida Atlantic junior point guard Brent Crews. Florida Atlantic senior forward Fred Marshall is the older brother of UCF football standout Brandon Marshall.

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 7.8 points per outing and is second on the team with 15 assists.

STATE SUCCESS This year, UCF is 4-1 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 25-10 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.

THIS DATE IN UCF HISTORY On Dec. 13, 1993, UCF topped visiting Bethune-Cookman, 77-73. The win gave Kirk Speraw a 3-0 record in his first season in Orlando. Against the Wildcats, UCF was paced by Ochiel Swaby, who had 25 points and eight rebounds. The Golden Knights started the year with a five-game winning streak and made their first trip to the NCAA Tournament that season. All-time, UCF is 5-3 on Dec. 13.

UP NEXT After two-consecutive road games, the Golden Knights return home to host Norfolk State on Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m... The schools will be meeting for the first time... The Spartans will serve as UCF's second Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponent this year. The squad topped Bethune-Cookman (61-48) on Nov. 29. All-time, the Golden Knights are 21-18 versus the MEAC.