Men's Basketball to Face Stetson at Home on Saturday

Nov. 17, 2006

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will be looking for its 10th-straight victory over local rival Stetson when it hosts the Hatters on Saturday, Nov. 18. Tip-off at the UCF Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.

UCF is 1-0 on the year after claiming its season-opener against Rollins on Wednesday. The Golden Knights' backcourt was impressive in the 83-80 overtime win over the Tars. Jermaine Taylor and Mike O'Donnell combined for 51 points. Taylor had 26 points and O'Donnell had 25 points. The pair combined for 13 of the squad's 15 3-pointers.

The Hatters enter the contest at 1-2.

Tickets for the game are available by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 407-839-3900. Season tickets are also currently available by calling 407-UCF-1000.

UCF-Stetson will be aired live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 THE TEAM AM in Orlando. Scott Adams will have the call from courtside.

Series History: UCF and the Hatters are meeting for the 36th time and the Golden Knights have won nine games in a row versus Stetson. UCF holds a 20-15 series edge. Stetson is the second-most frequent opponent in UCF history, following Rollins (41). The Golden Knights have claimed nine victories in a row. UCF head coach Kirk Speraw is 18-8 versus the Hatters. UCF and Stetson were Atlantic Sun Conference foes from 1993-05. The series dates back to 1974. In five games versus Stetson, Josh Peppers is averaging 11 points.

Last Time Out Against Stetson: On Nov. 26, 2005, the Golden Knights posted a 74-66 victory over Stetson in Orlando. Josh Peppers and Justin Rose led the hosts with 16 points each. Mike O'Donnell chipped in with 14 points. UCF shot 56.3 from the field for the game. E.J. Gordon paced the Hatters with 24 points.

About Stetson: The Hatters went 1-2 to open the season at the John Thompson Foundation Classic, hosted by Missouri last weekend. Against the host Tigers, Stetson led 27-26 at the break before falling, 66-45. Senior guard Gabe McMillen and sophomore forward Eric Diaz are both averaging 13 points an outing. The Hatters are shooting 42 percent overall and 36.1 percent from 3-point range. They turned the ball over 58 times at the event.

UCF-Stetson Connections: Mike O'Donnell and Stetson's Gabe McMillen both hail from Largo, Fla., but attended different high schools. The two were members of the same AAU team while in middle school for one season.

UCF Last Time Out: UCF opened the season with an 83-80 overtime victory over cross-town opponent Rollins on Wednesday. Jermaine Taylor led the Golden Knights with 26 points. Mike O'Donnell scored 25 points in the victory and scored eight points in the overtime session. The hosts made all four of their field goal attempts in overtime, including two treys from O'Donnell and one from Taylor. The Golden Knights hit 15 triples in the contest and held a 37-29 edge on the glass.

Great Beginnings: The Golden Knights have won 10-straight contests in the month of November and are 18-2 in the month dating back to the 2001-02 season. UCF's last loss during the month was a 72-63 defeat at the College of Charleston on Nov. 25, 2003. Last season, the squad went 4-0 in November. Under head coach Kirk Speraw, the team is 27-16 in November.

From Deep: UCF hit 15 3-pointers versus Rollins, the second-highest single-game total in program history. The last time that the Golden Knights made at least 15 3-pointers in a game was on Feb. 28, 2005 versus Campbell when they hit a school-best 16 treys. The team's 33 3-point field goal attempts against the Tars were also the second-most in school history. UCF shot. 45.5 percent from deep for the contest. A year ago, the Golden Knights shot 36.5 percent from 3-point range, the top mark in Conference USA.

The Sixth Man: Jermaine Taylor came off of the bench to score a career-high 26 points in the win over Rollins. He played a career-best 37 minutes. The sophomore from Tavares connected on nine field goals and hit six triples, good for seventh all-time in UCF single-game history. Last year, Taylor came off of the bench for all 29 games and averaged 4.5 points in 12.2 minutes. His season-high last year was 16 points versus Houston (Feb. 15, 2005). He only connected on 17 triples in 2005-06. Taylor's 26 points accounted for all of UCF's offensive output from its bench.

Offensive Explosion: UCF's 83 points in its overtime win over Rollins were the most since the squad topped Nova Southeastern at home on Nov. 22, 2005. The contest against Nova Southeastern marked the only time last year that the Golden Knights scored more than 80 points.

MOD for Three: Mike O'Donnell was 7-of-12 from 3-point range on his way to a career-best 25 points against Rollins. The seven treys tie him with two other players for fourth on the school's single-game register. Last year, O'Donnell was one of the top 3-point shooters in Conference USA, hitting 37.1 percent of his attempts from deep, good for ninth in the league.

Extra Session: UCF's overtime contest with Rollins served as the first time that the squad played an extra session since Feb. 12, 2005 at Jacksonville. In 2005-06, the Golden Knights did not play an overtime game. The squad had not won an overtime contest since the 2002-03 campaign when it topped Georgia State on Jan. 25. Prior to Wednesday, UCF's last home overtime contest was on Dec. 28, 2004 versus Brown at the UCF Holiday Classic.

Peppers Distributes: UCF's leading returning scorer from a year ago, Josh Peppers, scored only nine points in the win over Rollins, but did record a team-high five assists. The five assists were one shy of a career-high.

The Starting Lineup: A pair of players started for the first time during their UCF careers versus Rollins. Junior Dave Noel started at shooting guard and sophomore Kenrick Zondervan got the nod at center. Both players set career-bests in minutes, with Noel playing for 32 minutes and Zondervan registering 28 minutes. As a freshman in 2005-06, Zondervan averaged only 2.5 minutes a contest.

Full House: Against Rollins, 2,886 fans were on hand, the ninth-largest crowd in UCF Arena history. A year ago, 3,051 watched UCF defeat the Tars, which was the seventh-largest crowd in venue history. Four of the top-10 crowds in UCF Arena history have been achieved since the start of the 2003-04 campaign.

Debuts: Juniors Mike Battle, Stanley Billings and Chip Cartwright and freshman Tony Davis all made their UCF debuts against Rollins. Battle missed all of last season with an injury and Billings and Cartwright are junior college transfers.

Heading for 300: Head coach Kirk Speraw needs just eight victories to reach the 300-career win mark. He has 292 career victories. Speraw is in his 14th year at UCF and has won 209 games at the school. In his other stint as a head coach, Speraw recorded 82 wins from 1987-90 at Pensacola Junior College.

This Date in UCF History: In 2004, UCF began the season with a 74-63 victory over Alaska-Fairbanks to open the BP Top of the World Classic. In his first game as a Golden Knight, Anthony Williams scored 21 points to pace UCF.

Up Next: UCF hosts Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. The Golden Knights hold a 10-7 edge in the all-time series and have won three straight. Kirk Speraw is 4-1 versus the Wildcats. In Orlando, UCF leads the series, 7-4. On Nov. 29, 2005, the Golden Knights recorded a 61-48 victory over Bethune-Cookman at the UCF Arena. Jermaine Taylor paced UCF with 15 points. He hit four treys in the win. Adam Gill added 12 points. UCF held the Wildcats to just 25 percent shooting overall and 12.5 percent (2-for-16) shooting from deep.