UCF Hosts Marshall in Inaugural C-USA Game

Jan. 9, 2006

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ORLANDO - The UCF men's basketball team will play its inaugural Conference USA contest on Wednesday, hosting Marshall. Tip-off at Torchy Clark Court at UCF Arena is slated for 7:30 p.m.

Both UCF (6-6, 0-0) and Marshall (6-6, 0-0) are competing in C-USA for the first time and will be making their league debuts on Wednesday. Despite a rivalry on the football field, the squads will be meeting on the hardwood for the first time.

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

UCF-Marshall 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 OPENS CONFERENCE PLAY After a solid performance at No. 19 Kentucky on Jan. 3, the Golden Knights open league-play versus Marshall. This season, UCF is 6-1 at home.

UCF has held its last three opponents to below 60 points. Opponents are averaging 61.7 points per game, giving the Golden Knights the top scoring defense in Conference USA. UCF is 7-5 under Kirk Speraw in league openers.

LAST TIME OUT Rajon Rondo hit a jumper in the lane with 1.5 seconds remaining to lift No. 19 Kentucky to a 59-57 win over visiting UCF on Jan. 3. Josh Peppers scored 15 points for the Golden Knights and Justin Rose had a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

UCF tied the game with 26 seconds to play on a three-pointer from Mike O'Donnell, but Rondo responded for the Wildcats, hitting the game-winning basket. Kentucky led by 11 with 13:33 to go in the contest, but the Golden Knights rallied with a 15-4 run, with Rose scoring six during the spurt.

The Golden Knights shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and 44 percent for the game. UCF finished with a 36-27 edge on the glass.

ABOUT MARSHALL The Thundering Herd have won five of their last eight games, but are coming off of a 79-73 overtime loss at home to No. 20 George Washington on Saturday. Marshall led by as many as 12 in the second half, the Colonials rallied for the win. The hosts committed 28 turnovers in the losing effort and are averaging 17.8 turnovers per game.

Mark Patton scored 21 points versus George Washington and is averaging 14.9 points on the season. He leads Conference USA, grabbing 3.9 offensive rebounds per contest. Marshall is allowing 71.3 points a game and is shooting a league-low 41.8 percent from the field. From three-point range, the team is shooting at a 29.2 percent clip.

SERIES HISTORY Despite a rivalry on the football field, UCF and Marshall will be meeting for the first time on the hardwood. In its 36-year basketball history, UCF has never faced a school from West Virginia.

ANOTHER FIRST WITH THE THUNDERING HERD UCF and Marshall are no strangers when it comes to season openers. The programs met on Sept. 24 in Orlando to open the 2005 Conference USA football season. The contest marked the inaugural C-USA game for both teams. The Golden Knights claimed a 22-13 win, snapping a 16-game losing streak for UCF.

UCF-MARSHALL CONNECTIONS Marshall junior forward Travis Aikens is from Orlando and attended Daytona Beach Community College. Former UCF star Dexter Lyons played at DBCC from 2000-02.

A LATE CONFERENCE OPENER Due to the Atlantic Sun's 20-game league schedule, UCF opened its conference slate a year ago on Dec. 2 versus Gardner-Webb at home. With the 14-game C-USA schedule, the Golden Knights will now open league play in January.

REACHING A MILESTONE UCF's 63-47 victory over Norfolk State on Dec. 16 gave head coach Kirk Speraw his 200th-career win. Speraw joins Torchy Clark as the only two coaches in UCF history to win at least 200 contests. In his 13th season, all of Speraw's Division I wins have come with the Golden Knights. In the late 1980s, he spent three seasons as head coach at Pensacola Junior College, winning 82 games. At UCF, Speraw has led UCF to four trips to the NCAA Tournament - its only appearances in the postseason at the Division I level.

BIG CROWD AT RUPP On Jan. 3 when UCF faced No. 19 Kentucky, 21,329 fans were on hand at Rupp Arena - the second-largest crowd to witness a game in Golden Knight history. At the 1994 NCAA Tournament, 21,568 spectators crowded into Rupp to watch UCF face top-seeded Purdue in the first round.

HOME COOKING Dating back to the start of the 2001-02 season, the Golden Knights are 49-11 in games played at UCF Arena. In 2004-05, the team went 12-3 at home, the second-best home win total in program history (14 in 1993-94). This season, the squad is 6-1 in Orlando.

MR. VERSATILITY Senior guard Justin Rose is doing it all for UCF this season. 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 rebounds (6.2) and three-point field-goal percentage (44.7). He is second on the squad with an 11.8 points and a 3.7 assists per game average.

BIG ON THE BOARDS Justin Rose's 6.2 rebounds per game rank among the top-10 in Conference USA. Rose is the only guard in the top-10 and at 6-foot-3 is the shortest player among the leaders. East Carolina's Corey Rouse, who leads the league on the boards (10.6 rpg), is 6-foot-8.

THE INJURED LIST Kirk Speraw announced on Jan. 5 that senior center Will Bakanowsky and junior guard Mike Battle will both redshirt this season. Due to injuries, Bakanowsky and Battle have not appeared in any of the Golden Knights' games in 2005-06.

UCF's starting center a year ago, Bakanowsky has not played for precautionary reasons due to concussions. In 2004-05, he made 26 starts and averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest. Bakanowsky has not seen action since UCF's contest at the 2005 NCAA Tournament when he scored 15 points and added seven rebounds against Connecticut.

Battle, a transfer from Paris Junior College in Texas, was expected to compete for a starting guard spot. He has not played due to a stress fracture of the tibia. Last year, he averaged 9.5 points per game and helped lead Paris to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I title.

PEPPERS, ROSE SHINE AT TOURNAMENT Josh Peppers and Justin Rose both earned all-tournament accolades following the UCF Holiday Classic on Dec. 30. Peppers averaged 16 points at the event, including a game-high 17 points in the title game versus Birmingham-Southern. Rose averaged 12 points and six rebounds in the two games.

THREE-POINT SPECIALIST Senior guard Troy Lindbeck is leaving his mark in the UCF record books. Lindbeck has connected on 101 three-point field goals, good for 10th all-time at the school. He is one of only 11 players in school history to have hit at least 100 three-pointers during their career. His 297 three-point attempts are good for 10th in the UCF annals.

Lindbeck has made 111 total field goals during his career and 90.9 percent of his field goals have been from three-point range. The three-pointers account for 303 of his 384 career points (78.9 percent).

MOVING UP THE CHARTS When Troy Lindbeck entered the game against Norfolk State on Dec. 16, the contest marked the 100th game of his collegiate career. The senior guard has played in 105 games in a UCF uniform and needs to appear in four more contests to claim the 10th spot on UCF's career games register.

TOUGH "D" UCF has held its last 21 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 one of UCF's last seven opponents (Western Kentucky, 73) has scored over 70 points.

BACK TO SCHOOL This season, a pair of UCF assistant coaches have faced their alma maters on the hardwood. The Golden Knights visited Florida, where Craig Brown starred at from 1990-94, on Dec. 3. In the championship game of the UCF Holiday Classic on Dec. 30, the Golden Knights faced Birmingham-Southern, the alma mater of Dwight Evans. Evans played for the Panthers from 1982-84 and is a member of the school's athletics hall of fame.

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.

UCF SPORTS TODAY WITH Kirk Speraw "UCF Sports Today" with Kirk Speraw airs each Wednesday afternoon on Sun Sports. The program airs at 5 p.m. Marc Daniels hosts the show, which features game highlights and player features. Speraw provides insight into the UCF program and gives viewers a preview of the Golden Knights's upcoming opponents. The show will air each Wednesday with the final episode of the season running on March 8.

THIS DATE IN UCF HISTORY A year ago on Jan. 11, 2005, UCF topped Stetson, 70-66 in Orlando. Four UCF starters finished with double-figures in points, led by Marcus Johnson with 18.

UP NEXT UCF will be seeking its first road win of the 2005-06 season when it faces Houston on Saturday. Tip-off at Hofheinz Pavilion is slated for 8 p.m. Eastern... The squads 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.