Golden Knights Visit Rice on Saturday

Feb. 24, 2006

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ORLANDO - The UCF men's basketball team will head to Texas for the third time this season, facing host Rice in Houston on Saturday evening. Tip-off at Autry Court for the Conference USA game is slated for 7 p.m. Eastern.

With three regular season games remaining, the Golden Knights are 11-13 overall and 5-6 in league play. Rice is also 11-13 and 5-6. Both teams are tied for fifth in the conference standings.

Live video of the game will be available on www.UCFathletics.com as part of the "Golden Knights All-Access" package.

UCF-Rice will also 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.

UCF LAST TIME OUT Five Golden Knights scored in double-digits as UCF eased to a 69-49 victory over visiting East Carolina on Wednesday. The Golden Knights won both games against the Pirates this season. Josh Peppers paced the hosts with 17 points and six boards.

UCF led 31-21 at halftime after limiting East Carolina to just six field goals in the first 20 minutes. Justin Rose and Anthony Williams each totaled 12 points in the win. The Golden Knights committed a season-low nine turnovers, compared to 17 for the Pirates.

ABOUT RICE The Owls have not played since dropping a 58-47 contest at UTEP last Saturday. Jamaal Moore led Rice with 23 points versus the Miners. Rice was just 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from three-point range. Morris Almond, who leads Conference USA in scoring (21.5 ppg) was held to just 10 points. In league games, he is averaging 25.7 points.

The Owls are averaging 68.1 points an outing, but are allowing a league-high 70.2 points. Lorenzo Williams ranks 11th nationally in assists per game (6.3). This season, Rice is 8-5 at home.

SERIES HISTORY The Owls have a 1-0 series edge. Rice recorded a 65-63 win over the Golden Knights at home on Dec. 13, 1977. Cleveland Jackson paced UCF (then called Florida Tech) with 26 points. Jerry Prather scored 17 points in the losing effort. Rice was led by Frank Jackson who had 18 points and eight rebounds. The Golden Knights had a 33-30 lead at the half and shot 55.6 percent overall for the game.

The 1977-78 season marked one of the best campaigns in school history. UCF, coached by Torchy Clark, posted a 26-4 mark and advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four. The loss at Rice was one of the team's two regular season losses, which both came to Division I squads (Lamar, Rice).

BACK IN TEXAS When the Golden Knights face Rice in Houston, it will mark UCF's third separate appearance in Texas this season. The team has already played Houston and SMU. Prior to facing Houston on Jan. 14, UCF had not played in the Lone Star State since the 1991-92 campaign when it faced Sun Belt Conference foes Lamar and UT-Pan American. All-time, UCF is 3-6 in games played in Texas.

THE 6TH MAN In UCF's last four games, Josh Peppers has come off of the bench to lead the team in scoring. As a reserve, he is averaging 14.8 points. In the Golden Knights' 69-49 victory over East Carolina on Wednesday, the junior forward scored a game-high 17 points and added six boards, four assists and three steals in 26 minutes. Prior to coming off of the bench for the first time against Tulane on Feb. 11, Peppers had made 41-consecutive starts.

IN RESERVE Thanks to Josh Peppers, UCF's bench is averaging 36 points in its last four contests. The Golden Knight reserves accounted for 47 points against Houston on Feb. 15, compared to 24 for the starters.

GETTING DEFENSIVE UCF is limiting opponents to only 63.5 points per contest this season, the second-best mark in Conference USA. This season, the Golden Knights have held 13 foes to below 60 points, including five in league play. In 2005-06, UCF has limited three teams to below 50 points. Two conference teams (Tulsa, East Carolina) have failed to score more than 50 points against the Golden Knights.

ROSE TAKES IT AWAY The Golden Knights matched a season-best with 11 steals versus East Carolina on Wednesday. Justin Rose led the squad with a career-high six steals, the most by a Golden Knight since Dexter Lyons totaled six at Stetson on Jan. 9, 2004.

RATINGS GAME The Golden Knights have played six teams this season ranked in the top-55 of the latest (Feb. 21) RPI report. Conference USA opponents Memphis (5), UAB (53) and Houston (55) are all in the top-55. Florida (18), Kentucky (40) and Western Kentucky (42) are also listed.

THE STARTING LINEUP UCF has used six different starting lineups this season. Seven Golden Knights have recorded starts in 2005-06, but only one player, Mike O'Donnell, has started every game. Prior to coming off of the bench against Tulane on Feb. 11, Josh Peppers had started 41-consecutive contests.

CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP For the second-straight year, Memphis will host the Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship at FedEx Forum from March 8-11. Twelve teams will compete for the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The squads with the four best conference records earn first-round byes. First round games are slated for March 8. The championship contest is scheduled for March 11 at 11:45 a.m. Eastern on CBS.

THIS DATE IN UCF HISTORY On Feb. 25, 1995, UCF got past host Mercer, 92-90, in Macon, Ga. The Golden Knights were led by Ochiel Swaby, who scored 36 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the double-double.

UP NEXT UCF will head to the Moutaineer State to face Marshall on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Huntington, W.Va. The schools met for the first time on Jan. 11 and the visiting Thundering Herd recorded a 73-69 victory. The contest marked the first Conference USA game for both schools. Justin Rose paced the Golden Knights with 21 points. Marshall shot 50 percent from the field in the second half, compared to 38.2 percent for the hosts. Travis Aikens led Marshall with 17 points and nine rebounds. UCF was 6-of-12 at the free-throw line, compared to Marshall, who made 29 trips to the charity stripe, making 19... The Golden Knights will be playing in West Virginia for the first time.