Golden Knights Conclude Road Swing at Marshall

Jan. 11, 2007

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team concludes a four-game road swing on Saturday, facing Marshall for a Conference USA contest at the Cam Henderson Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

The Golden Knights enter the contest 11-4 overall and 0-1 in league play. Marshall is 5-10 and 0-2.

The game will be broadcast 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 and statistics will be available at www.ucfathletics.com.

Series History: The Thundering Herd have a 2-0 edge in the all-time series, winning both Conference USA matchups last year. On March 1, 2006 in Huntington, Marshall posted a 73-61 win over the Golden Knights. UCF shot just 33.8 percent (24-of-71) from the field for the game. Josh Peppers paced UCF with a game-high 18 points. UCF and the Thundering Herd met for the first time on Jan. 11, 2006 in the inaugural C-USA contest for both teams in Orlando. Marshall shot 47.9 percent overall and 47.1 percent from deep on its way to a 73-69 win. In two contests against Marshall, Peppers is averaging 17 points.

About Marshall: The Thundering Herd have dropped two-straight, most recently an 88-64 contest at UTEP on Wednesday. The Miners led 51-31 at halftime after shooting 52.8 percent overall and 53.3 percent from deep in the opening period. Tre Whitted led Marshall with 20 points. The Thundering Herd are averaging 69.6 points per game and allowing 74.1 points. The squad ranks 11th in Conference USA in field goal percentage (40.6) and last in 3-point field-goal percentage (30.5). Markel Humphrey paces the team at 13 points an outing.

UCF-Marshall Connections: Marshall assistant coach Josh Postorino attended Clearwater High School in the 1990s. UCF forward Jacob Loucks also attended Clearwater. Loucks played high school basketball with Postorino's younger brother, Luke.

UCF Last Time Out: Paul Delaney III hit a runner in the lane at the end of regulation and UAB scored 17 points in overtime as the Blazers posted a 74-64 victory in Birmingham over UCF on Wednesday. UCF led by 10 with three minutes to play, but UAB closed regulation with a 16-6 run. The Golden Knights shot just 2-of-12 (.167) overall in the extra session. Josh Peppers paced UCF with 20 points and Lavell Payne totaled 14 points and seven rebounds.

Points No Longer at a Premium: After averaging just 63.3 points per game last year, the Golden Knights are scoring 77.1 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 seven occasions this season. UCF owns a +11.7 scoring margin.

Three the Easy Way: UCF leads Conference USA and is fifth nationally, shooting 41 percent from 3-point range. The Golden Knights are making 8.4 treys a contest, good for 24th nationally. This season, the team is 9-3 when making seven or more 3-pointers. Jermaine Taylor leads Conference USA and is sixth nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (50). Mike O'Donnell ranks third in C-USA, shooting 47.9 percent from deep.

Straight Shooters: The Golden Knights are shooting 48.6 percent from the field on the year, which leads Conference USA and ranks 21st nationally. Shooting 55 percent from the floor, Jermaine Taylor is fifth in the league and 41st in the NCAA rankings in the category.

Tough Slate: The contest at Marshall concludes a four-game road swing for UCF. The four-straight games away from home is the longest road stretch for the Golden Knights since the 2000-01 season. UCF plays six of its nine games in January outside of Orlando.

Sixth Sense: Averaging 15.5 points a contest, Jermaine Taylor is the second-leading scorer among all reserves in the nation. Brian Hodges of UMBC is the top sixth man nationally at 17.9 points per game.

New and Improved: A year ago, Jermaine Taylor scored 130 points as a freshman, seeing time in all 29 of UCF's games. In 15 contests in 2006-07, the sophomore has totaled 232 points and leads UCF at 15.5 points per game. He has paced UCF in scoring eight times. 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 12 of the Golden Knights' 15 games. He has made 39 triples this year after canning 17 a year ago. Last season, Taylor shot 39.5 percent overall and 30.4 percent from deep. He is currently hitting 55 percent of his field-goal attempts and is shooting 50 percent from behind-the-arc.

House of Payne: Lavell Payne recorded his first career double-double at South Dakota State on Jan. 3 and followed that performance with 14 points and seven boards at UAB on Wednesday. In UCF's last two games, the senior from Fort Lauderdale has averaged 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.

Peppers Heats Up: An all-conference candidate, Josh Peppers struggled putting the ball in the basket early in the season, scoring under 13 points in each of UCF's first four games. The senior has started to heat up offensively. Peppers is averaging 17 points and 4.8 rebounds in UCF's last five contests.

Board Games: Playing 15.8 minutes per game off of the bench, freshman forward Tony Davis paces UCF on the glass, averaging 5.2 rebounds. Davis has led UCF in rebounds nine times this year and totaled 10 boards in the squad's outing on Dec. 30 against Texas-Pan Am. A candidate for the All-C-USA Freshman Team, he was the Florida Class 6A Player of the Year at Riverview High School in Sarasota.

Lavell Eases the Payne at the Line: In 2005-06, Lavell Payne was just 18-of-42 at the free-throw line. This year, the senior forward is shooting 45-of-62 (72.6 percent) at the charity stripe. That mark ranks 14th in Conference USA.

Second Time Around: As the backup point guard last year, Dave Noel averaged just 2.8 points in 11.8 minutes an outing. Noel is now starting at shooting guard and showing his talents. The junior, who sat out the 2004-05 season after transferring from UNC-Wilmington, is playing 26.9 minutes per contest this season, averaging 8.8 points and 3.7 boards while shooting 53.2 percent from the floor.

Big Man on Campus: Stanley Billings is among the Conference USA leaders, averaging 1.2 blocks per game. He has 14 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: Kinsgley Edwards scored 20 points and Marcus Avant added 18 points as UCF topped host Florida Atlantic, 73-70, in 2005. Edwards was 10-of-12 at the free-throw line and Avant connected on 8-of-10 from the field for the Golden Knights.

Up Next: UCF makes its 2006-07 Conference USA home debut on Wednesday, hosting SMU. The programs will be meeting for the second time and for the first time in Orlando. The Mustangs claimed a 77-55 win over UCF in Dallas on Feb. 18, 2006. The Golden Knights shot just 35.7 percent overall, 29.4 percent from deep and 55.6 percent at the free-throw line in the loss. Josh Peppers led UCF with 14 points. Bryan Hopkins paced SMU with 23 points and Devon Pearson had a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. The hosts shot 54 percent overall and led 36-22 at halftime. Matt Doherty is in his first year as the head coach at SMU. A year ago, he was the head coach at Florida Atlantic when the Owls recorded a 59-54 win over UCF in Boca Raton.