Golden Knights Head West to Face Houston

Jan. 13, 2006

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HOUSTON - UCF will be looking for its first Conference USA victory when it travels to Texas to face Houston on Saturday evening. Tip-off at Hofheinz Pavilion is slated for 8 p.m. Eastern.

The Golden Knights (6-7, 0-1 C-USA) are also seeking their first win away from home this season. Houston enters the contest with a 9-4 overall mark and is 0-1 in league action.

The Golden Knights will need a strong defensive performance against a high-powered Houston offense. UCF is holding opponents to a league-low 62.5 points per contest. That mark ranks 47th nationally.

UCF-Houston 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.

LAST TIME OUT Despite a game-high 21 points from Justin Rose, UCF dropped its inaugural Conference USA game, falling 73-69 to visiting Marshall on Wednesday. The Golden Knights led by five with 8:30 remaining in the game, but Marshall used a 15-3 run to grab the lead. UCF got within three points with 2:37 to play after an Adam Gill dunk, but the hosts then went cold offensively, missing three shots and committing two turnovers in the next two minutes.

UCF led 36-32 at halftime, but shot just 38.2 percent overall in the second stanza, compared to 50 percent for the Thundering Herd. Josh Peppers scored 16 points in the losing effort and Anthony Williams recorded 15 points and eight boards. Rose matched career-highs with seven assists and three steals. UCF recorded 19 assists against the Thundering Herd.

ABOUT HOUSTON The Cougars snapped a five-game winning streak on Wednesday, opening conference play with a 71-62 loss at cross-town foe Rice. Houston shot just 30 percent from the floor, while Rice connected on 53 percent of its field-goal attempts. Lanny Smith led Houston with 21 points. He made five three-pointers as Houston attempted 38 shots from deep.

In 2005-06, the squad is averaging 77.5 points per game, good for second in the league. The Cougars are shooting 42.3 percent from the floor and a league-best 36.4 percent from behind-the-arc. Oliver Lafayette is averaging a team-high 17.8 points per game and is first in C-USA in steals (3.5). Smith's 6.3 assists a contest rank second in the conference.

This season, the Cougars are 6-1 at home after registering a 12-2 mark at Hofheinz Pavilion last year.

SERIES HISTORY The teams will be meeting for the first time on the court. The Golden Knights are 0-1 (Sam Houston State) against teams from the Lone Star State this year. UCF will be playing in Texas for the first time since Jan. 16, 1992 when the Golden Knights faced UT-Pan American in Edinburg. Both schools were members of the Sun Belt Conference at the time. This season, UCF will face both Houston and Rice in Texas.

UCF-HOUSTON CONNECTIONS Houston guard Brian Latham hails from Memphis, Tenn. His East High School squad squared off against Josh Peppers and Whitehaven High School on numerous occasions.

ACCURATE FROM DEEP The Golden Knights are shooting 35 percent from three-point range this season and have three players ranked in the top-10 in Conference USA in the category. Justin Rose is third, shooting 44.2 percent from deep. Troy Lindbeck ranks fifth (42.2 percent) and Josh Peppers is eighth with a 38.6 three-point field goal percentage.

THE DISH In his first season at UCF, Mike O'Donnell leads the squad with 57 assists. His 4.38 assists per game average is the fifth-best mark in Conference USA. O'Donnell's 2.71 assist/turnover ratio ranks second in the league.

TOUGH "D" UCF has held its last 22 opponents to 80 points or below. The last team to score more than 80 points versus the Golden Knights was Jacksonville on Feb. 12, 2005. The Dolphins claimed an 83-82 victory in overtime at home. Only two of UCF's last eight opponents (Western Kentucky, Marshall) have scored more than 70 points.

PACKING THE HOUSE UCF has played in front of two of the top home crowds in school history this season. On Nov. 18, UCF faced cross-town opponent Rollins in front of 3,051 fans - the seventh-largest crowd in UCF Arena history. When the Golden Knights opened Conference USA play versus Marshall on Jan. 11, over 2,800 spectators crowded into UCF Arena. The 2,807 fans marked the ninthth-largest crowd in the venue's history.

CINGULAR WIRELESS KNIGHTS ROUNDTABLE The "Cingular Wireless Knights Roundtable" radio show featuring Kirk Speraw is broadcast each Monday at 6 p.m. The program will air live from the Applebee's on University Boulevard near the UCF campus. Hosted by Marc Daniels, the show airs on 740 THE TEAM - AM (WQTM), the flagship station of the UCF ISP Sports Network. Fans can also listen via the Internet at www.UCFathletics.com. The hour-long program will run through March 13.

THIS DATE IN UCF HISTORY On Jan. 14, 1999, UCF defeated visiting Jacksonville, 74-58, to improve to 4-1 in Atlantic Sun play. D'Quarius Stewart posted a career-high 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. He connected on all four of his three-point field goal attempts.

UP NEXT The Golden Knights will play their final non-conference game of the season on Wednesday at home versus South Dakota State. The teams met for the first time on Feb. 21, 2005 in Orlando. UCF shot 50.9 percent from the floor on its way to an 82-72 victory. Gary Johnson paced UCF with 25 points. He was 10-of-13 from the charity stripe as the Golden Knights made 36 trips to the line. Josh Peppers recorded 15 points in the win and Anthony Williams totaled 10 points, six rebounds and a career-high six blocks.