Men's Basketball Hosts South Dakota State on Wednesday

Jan. 17, 2006

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ORLANDO - The UCF men's basketball team will play its final non-conference game of the year on Wednesday, hosting South Dakota State. Tip-off at Torchy Clark Court at UCF Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Following Wednesday's contest, the Golden Knights (7-7) will close the regular season with 12 Conference USA contests. Opponents are scoring only 62 points per game against UCF. On the offensive end, the Golden Knights are shooting 45.5 percent from the floor. South Dakota State is 4-12 on the year.

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

UCF-South Dakota State 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 LAST TIME OUT UCF won the first Conference USA game in school history on Saturday, topping host Houston, 66-56. Anthony Williams scored a game-high 25 in the win. UCF shot 50 percent overall and limited the Cougars to only a 31 percent effort from the field. Houston entered the contest averaging 77 points a contest and was held to below 60 points for the first time this season. Justin Rose and Troy Lindbeck each chipped in with 11 points for UCF.

ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE The Jackrabbits, who are in their second season at the Division I level, are 0-7 on the road this season. The squad is led by Matt Caldwell who is averaging 15.7 points and 3.4 assists per contest. Ben Beran is averaging 12.6 points a game and Mohamed Berte (7.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg) leads the way inside. Steve Holdren, the team's top player who scored 19 versus the Golden Knights last year, is out with an ACL injury.

South Dakota State has lost five of its last six games and is averaging 63 points, but allowing 76. The team is shooting 38.9 percent from the floor and opponents are shooting 48.1 percent against the Jackrabbits. In its last contest, South Dakota State dropped an 85-56 contest at North Dakota State on Saturday.

SERIES HISTORY UCF and South Dakota State met for the first time last season with the host Golden Knights taking an 82-72 victory on Feb. 21. The hosts made 36 trips to the free-throw line in the win, making 23. Gary Johnson scored a game-high 25 points for UCF. Josh Peppers posted 15 points and Anthony Williams scored 10 points and recorded a career-high six blocks versus the Jackrabbits. Marcus Johnson chipped in with 10 rebounds and nine points off of the bench. South Dakota State shot 50.9 percent for the contest. Ben Beran had 20 points and Steve Holdren added 19 points in the losing effort.

UCF-SDSU CONNECTIONS South Dakota State junior forward Mohamed Berte was a teammate of Anthony Williams at Indian Hills Community College. The pair played together during the 2003-04 season. Berte leads South Dakota State with a 7.4 rebounds per game average.

BIG WEEK FOR WILLIAMS Anthony Williams started Conference USA play in strong fashion last week. In a pair of games, he averaged 20 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. From the field, he shot 63 percent, making 17-of-27 attempts. Against Houston, he scored a season-high 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting. He added nine rebounds and five blocks. Williams opened league play with a 15-point, eight-rebound performance against Marshall.

MARATHON MAN Mike O'Donnell logged 40 minutes at Houston on Jan. 14. He finished with seven points, seven assists and only two turnovers as UCF earned its first Conference USA victory. He is the first Golden Knight to play all 40 minutes during a game since Marcus Avant went the distance at Belmont on Jan. 23, 2005.

ACCURATE FROM DEEP The Golden Knights pace Conference USA with a 35.8 three-point field goal percentage and have three players ranked in the top-10 in the category. Justin Rose is third, shooting 46.8 percent from deep. Troy Lindbeck ranks fourth (44 percent) and Josh Peppers is ninth with a 37.8 three-point field goal percentage.

MORE CONFERENCE HISTORY MADE IN TEXAS When UCF topped host Houston, 66-56, on Jan. 14, it marked the first Conference USA win in school history. The Golden Knights' first conference victory at the Division I level back in 1991 also came in the Lone Star State. On Jan. 12, 1991, UCF topped host UT-Pan American, 81-80, for its inaugural American South Conference win. The 1990-91 season marked UCF's first year in a league at the Division I level.

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 ninth-largest crowd in the venue's history.

THIS DATE IN UCF HISTORY On Jan. 18, 1997, UCF defeated visiting Georgia State, 85-68. The Golden Knights were led by Harry Kennedy who scored 17 points. Cory Perry chipped in with 12 points and five assists versus the Panthers.

UP NEXT UCF returns to Conference USA play on Saturday, hosting Tulsa at 7:30 p.m. The teams will be meeting for the first time since Dec. 4, 1989 when the host Golden Hurricane earned a 78-48 win. Tulsa has won both series meetings, also taking a 69-58 contest at home on Dec. 19, 1981.