UCF Seeking More In-State Success Against Jacksonville

Nov. 26, 2006

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team returns to action on Monday evening at home against Jacksonville and the Golden Knights will be seeking their first 5-0 start since the 1993-94 campaign. Tip-off at the UCF Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.

The 1993-94 campaign marked Kirk Speraw's first year as the UCF head coach and he guided the Golden Knights to the NCAA Tournament for the first time at the Division I level. UCF will be playing the fifth contest of six-straight games at home to start the season. All six games are versus in-state foes.

Jacksonville enters the contest with a 3-2 mark.

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-Jacksonville will be aired live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 THE TEAM AM in Orlando, with Marc Daniels on the call.

Series History: The Dolphins have an 11-10 advantage in the all-time series, but UCF leads 6-3 in Orlando. The programs were Sun Belt Conference opponents from 1991-93 and then were foes in the Atlantic Sun Conference from 1998-05. Kirk Speraw is 10-5 versus the Dolphins. The teams did not play last year, but split a pair of games during the 2004-05 season.

Last Time Out Against Jacksonville: On Feb. 12, 2005, the host Dolphins claimed an 83-82 overtime win over UCF. Anthony Williams paced the Golden Knights with 31 points and 10 boards. He was 11-of-11 at the free-throw line as the Golden Knights went 18-of-20 at the charity stripe. Josh Peppers added 14 points and six assists in 40 minutes of action. Jesse Kimbrough and David Lee each had 18 points for Jacksonville.

About Jacksonville: The Dolphins have won two straight, most recently an 87-74 victory over visiting South Carolina State on Saturday. The Bulldogs led 36-35 at halftime, but Jacksonville scored 52 points in the second half. Lehmon Colbert and Corey Claitt each had 17 points in the win. The Dolphins are 0-2 on the road in 2006-07. Jesse Kimbrough leads the team, averaging 13.8 points and Tyrone Curnell is the top rebounder at 5.8 boards per game. In five games this year, the team has committed 114 turnovers and is shooting just 25.3 percent from 3-point range.

UCF Last Time Out: UCF dominated Florida Tech on Friday, posting an 81-37 victory. The Panthers only mustered 12 points in the first half and shot just 25 percent for the game. Three Golden Knights finished with double-digits in scoring, led by Jermaine Taylor (15). UCF shot 50 percent overall and 50 percent from deep.

UCF Against the Atlantic Sun: Since leaving the Atlantic Sun prior to last season, the Golden Knights are 3-1 against league foes. This season, the team has already recorded a 73-60 victory over A-Sun program Stetson.

UCF-JU Connections: Jacksonville sophomore forward Marcus Allen and UCF's Lavell Payne both attended Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale. In 2003, the pair were teammates on the Panthers' state championship team.

As a junior at Mt. St. Mary's during the 1988-89 season, Jacksonville head coach Cliff Warren played against the Golden Knights. On March 4, 1989, the Mountaineers claimed a 99-92 win over the Golden Knights at the UCF Gymnasium as part of the Merrill Lynch Classic. Warren had eight points in 19 minutes.

Historic Performance: UCF's win over Florida Tech on Friday resulted in several historic and noteworthy numbers:
? The 37 points scored by Florida Tech were the third-lowest all-time by a UCF opponent and were the fewest since the program moved to the Divison I ranks
? The 37 points were also the fewest by a UCF opponent at the UCF Arena
? The 44-point victory margin was the Golden Knights' second-largest at the arena

Super Sophomore: Jermaine Taylor has been UCF's go-to-guy on offense this season, averaging a team-high 18.8 points. He has led the squad in scoring in three of its four games and has been the team's first player off the bench each contest. A year ago as a freshman, the guard scored in double-figures just four times in 29 contests. In 2006-07, he has totaled double-digits in points in all four of the Golden Knights' games. Last year, Taylor came off of the bench for all 29 games and averaged 4.5 points in 12.2 minutes. He opened 2006-07 by scoring 26 points in the win over Rollins and followed that performance with 23 versus Stetson. His season-high a year ago was 16 points against Houston (Feb. 15, 2005). He only connected on 17 triples in 2005-06, but already has 11 this season.

Shooting for 1,000: Senior forward Josh Peppers needs just 29 points to become the 13th 1,000-point scorer in program history. The Memphis, Tenn. native has scored 971 points at UCF. He is looking to become the first Golden Knight to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier since Paul Reed achieved the feat during the 2001-02 season.

UCF Not Generous During Holiday Season: The holiday season is upon us, but the Golden Knights have not been in a giving mood. UCF has limited its last two opponents to below 50 points. Bethune-Cookman mustered only 46 points on Nov. 21 and then UCF held Florida Tech to 37 points on Friday. The last time that the Golden Knights held back-to-back opponents to under 50 points each was in January of 1981 when they topped California State (Pa.), 58-48, and then defeated Francis Marion, 47-38, at the Swamp Fox Invitational in Florence, S.C. Last year, UCF limited three opponents to below 50 points.

Windex Man: Although he is averaging just 15.5 minutes of action, Tony Davis leads the Golden Knights in rebounds at 6.5 per game. He grabbed nine boards in the win over Florida Tech. Nine of the freshman's 17 rebounds have been on offensive end.

Great Beginnings: The Golden Knights have won 13-straight contests in the month of November and are 20-2 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.

Import Player: In his first season playing in the United States, Kenrick Zondervan scored just five points in 18 games last season. In 2006-07, the sophomore from Holland is starting at center and showing great improvement. Zondervan is averaging 6.5 points in 20.5 minutes of action. He notched a career-high with nine points in the win over Bethune-Cookman and then had eight against Florida Tech

On the Glass: UCF has dominated the boards in its five contests in 2006-07. The Golden Knights are averaging 43.2 rebounds and hold a +16 rebounding margin. Against Florida Tech, the Golden Knights had a 45-27 edge on the glass.

Off the Bench: Thanks to Jermaine Taylor, who has come off of the bench to lead the Golden Knights in scoring in three of its four games so far this season, UCF's reserves are averaging 38.8 points in 2006-07. Versus Florida Tech, the bench accounted for 47 of the Golden Knights' 81 points.

In-State Success: Since the start of the 2001-02 campaign, UCF is 30-11 against in-state opponents. Last season, the squad went 5-2 against Florida programs. In 2006-07, UCF opens the year by facing six-straight in-state foes.

Battle's Back: After transferring to UCF from Paris Junior College in Texas, Mike Battle missed all of last season with a tibia injury. This year, the shooting guard has seen time in all four contests and is averaging 3.5 points in 10 minutes of action. Against Florida Tech, he played 17 minutes and hit 3-of-4 attempts from 3-point range on his way to 11 points.

Blocks Adding Up for Billings: Stanley Billings recorded a season-best three blocks versus Florida Tech. The 6-foot-11 junior college transfer leads the squad with five swats on the year.

Heading for 300: Head coach Kirk Speraw needs just five victories to reach the 300-career win mark. He has 295 career victories. Speraw is in his 14th year at UCF and has won 213 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: On this date in 1995, UCF won its first home game of the season, defeating visiting Palm Beach Atlantic, 101-74. Five Golden Knights scored in double-figures with Howard Porter leading the way (21 points).

Up Next: Following a break for final exams, UCF returns to action at home on Dec. 9 to host in-state rival Florida Atlantic. The Golden Knights lead the all-time series with Florida Atlantic, 20-7. In Orlando, UCF has an 11-2 edge versus the Owls, who have won two-straight overall in the series. Kirk Speraw is 18-7 versus Florida Atlantic. The 18 victories are the second-most for Speraw against a single opponent (Stetson, 19). UCF and Florida Atlantic were Atlantic Sun Conference foes from 1993-05. The Golden Knights' 11 wins over the Owls at the UCF Arena are the most for the program versus an opponent at the venue. On Dec. 13, 2005, the Owls claimed a 59-54 win over UCF in Boca Raton. Josh Peppers paced the Golden Knights with 24 points and nine boards. Justin Rose chipped in with 13 points. Florida Atlantic led 27-17 at the half. Brent Crews scored 13 points in the win and Derrick Simmons and Rodney Webb each scored 11 points. In five career contests, Josh Peppers is averaging 11.2 points against Florida Atlantic.