Men's Basketball to Begin 2007 on the Road

Jan. 1, 2007

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Off to an impressive 10-2 start, the UCF men's basketball team will now play six of its next eight games away from Orlando. The tough stretch begins on Wednesday at Colorado.

Tip-off at the Coors Event Center is set for 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Colorado is 3-6 on the year.

The Golden Knights have won three-consecutive contests. UCF is off to a 10-2 start for only the second time since moving to the Division I level prior to the 1984-85 campaign. The other 10-2 start came during the 2003-04 season.

UCF-Colorado will be aired live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 THE TEAM AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call live from courtside. Live audio will be available at www.ucfathletics.com.

Series History: UCF and Colorado have never met on the hardwood and the Golden Knights will be playing in the Centennial State for the first time in program history. All-time, UCF has played only one Big 12 team, dropping a 71-59 contest at Kansas State on Jan. 6, 2003.

About Colorado: The Buffaloes have not played since losing a 72-69 contest at home to in-state rival Colorado State on Dec. 9. The team's Dec. 23 (UC-Davis) and Dec. 30 (TCU) games were cancelled to due inclement weather in the Boulder area. One of the best players in the Big 12, Richard Roby paces the squad in scoring at 18.3 points per game. Dominique Coleman is averaging 10.8 points and 3.4 assists. Colorado is shooting 38.8 percent overall and 26.9 percent from deep. UCF and the Buffaloes have both defeated Utah this year. Colorado topped the Utes, 60-59, behind 22 points from Roby on Nov. 21 in Salt Lake City.

Another Historic Game for Speraw: The contest against Colorado will serve as Kirk Speraw's 400th game as UCF's head coach. He is 219-180 in 14 years with the Golden Knights. Against New Jersey Tech on Dec. 29, Speraw recorded his 300th-career win. In his other stint as a head coach, Speraw posted 82 wins from 1987-90 at Pensacola Junior College.

UCF Last Time Out: On Dec. 30, the Golden Knights claimed the UCF Holiday Classic championship on Dec. 30 with an 88-62 victory over Texas-Pan Am. Josh Peppers scored 18 points and Mike O'Donnell just missed a triple-double with 17 points, a career-high 10 boards and nine assists. UCF shot 57.7 percent from the field and limited the Broncs to just 33.3 percent shooting for the contest. Peppers garnered a spot on the all-tournament team.

MOD Shines at Home Tourney: After helping his team to the UCF Holiday Classic title, Mike O'Donnell was named the tournament MVP. In two contests at the tournament, O'Donnell averaged 17.5 points, eight assists and 6.5 rebounds. He shot 50 percent (7-of-14) from 3-point range. The junior from Largo totaled 16 assists and just two turnovers for an 8.0 assist/turnover ratio.

O'Donnell Delivers: Mike O'Donnell has finished with double-figures in scoring in five-straight games. UCF is 4-1 in those contests.

Talking Points: After averaging just 63.3 points per game last year, the Golden Knights are scoring 77.8 points a contest in 2006-07. The squad eclipsed the 80-point mark only once a year ago, but have already scored more than 80 points in a game on six occasions this season. UCF owns a +15.3 scoring margin.

Shooters: UCF has been one of the most accurate shooting teams in the nation this year. The squad leads Conference USA, shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from 3-point range. The Golden Knights have shot 50 percent or better from the field six times this year. UCF is 8-2 in 2006-07 when making seven or more treys.

From Deep: A pair of Golden Knights - Mike O'Donnell and Jermaine Taylor -both rank second in Conference USA, shooting 50.9 percent from behind-the-arc. Both players are connecting on 2.42 3-pointers per game.

Taking Care of the Rock: Mike O'Donnell has been cautious with the ball this year. The junior leads Conference USA with a 3.20 assist/turnover ratio. He is averaging four assists per game, ranking fourth in the league. Teammate Dave Noel has also been careful with the rock, as his 1.81 assist/turnover ratio is good for eighth in C-USA.

Super Sophomore: Averaging 25.6 minutes off of the bench in 2006-07, Jermaine Taylor is UCF's leading scorer at 14.9 points per game, good for ninth in Conference USA. In 29 contests last year as a freshman, he scored 130 total points, averaging 4.5 per game. The guard has shown great improvement in 2006-07 and has paced UCF in scoring six times this season. A year ago as a freshman, the guard scored in double-figures just four times. In 2006-07, he has totaled double-digits in points in 10 of the Golden Knights' 12 games. The Tavares native is shooting 56.3 from the field, a mark that ranks fifth in the conference. He has made 29 triples this year after canning 17 a year ago.

Improvement at the Line: UCF ranks third in Conference USA, shooting 70.5 percent from the charity stripe. Dave Noel is fifth in the conference, shooting 77.1 percent at the charity stripe, and Josh Peppers ranks 11th (75 percent). In 2005-06, the Golden Knights shot 64.3 percent at the free-throw line.

Board Games: Playing 16.6 minutes per game off of the bench, freshman forward Tony Davis paces UCF on the glass, averaging 5.8 rebounds, the 13th-best mark in Conference USA. He ranks fifth in C-USA in defensive rebounds per contest (4.25). Davis has led UCF in rebounds eight times this year and totaled 10 boards in the squad's last outing on Dec. 30 against Texas-Pan Am. Last year, he was the Florida Class 6A Player of the Year at Riverview High School in Sarasota.

Peppers from 3-Point Range: In his career at UCF, senior forward Josh Peppers has connected on 145 3-pointers, good for sixth all-time. His 400 3-point field goal attempts rank fifth at the school.

Peppers Chasing More History: Josh Peppers is also approaching the top-10 at UCF in four categories. He needs 134 points to crack the program's top-10 scoring list. The senior from Memphis, Tenn. also needs 21 free throws, 14 free-throw attempts and six games played to enter the top-10 in those categories.

Big Man on Campus: Stanley Billings is among the Conference USA leaders, averaging 1.3 blocks per game. He has 13 on the year. An Orlando native, Billings graduated from Oak Ridge High School, where he did not play basketball, in 1996. Following high school, he spent eight years in the Marines. He started playing competitive basketball while in the military. According to research by the UCF Athletics Communications Office, Billings is the oldest Division I player in the nation.

This Date in UCF History: In 1994, UCF won its Atlantic Sun season-debut, posting an 82-81 win at home over Florida International. Ochiel Swaby scored 30 points and had 10 boards in the victory.

Up Next: UCF concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule on Saturday at South Dakota State. The teams will be meeting for the third-straight year and the all-time series is tied, 1-1. The contest will mark the first series matchup in South Dakota. On Jan. 18, 2006, the Jackrabbits rallied from a 17-point deficit at the half to post a 69-64 victory in Orlando. Matt Cadwell was 11-of-11 at the free-throw line on his way to a game-high 26 points in the win. South Dakota State shot 88 percent at the line and forced 17 UCF turnovers. Josh Peppers paced the Golden Knights with 15 points. In two contests against South Dakota State, Peppers is averaging 15 points and 4.5 rebounds.