Golden Knights Visit ECU on Wednesday

Feb. 6, 2007

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - After a pair of contests at home, the UCF men's basketball team returns to the road to face East Carolina for a Conference USA matchup on Wednesday. Tip-off at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C. is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Golden Knights (16-6, 5-3 C-USA) are currently tied with Houston and Rice for second in the C-USA standings. Three of UCF's next four games are away from home.

East Carolina enters the contest 5-16 overall and 0-8 in league action.

UCF-East Carolina 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 statistics and audio will be available at www.ucfathletics.com.

Series History: UCF has a 5-0 edge in the all-time series and claimed three contests against the Pirates last year. All of the program's victories against East Carolina have come under Kirk Speraw. The Golden Knights topped the Pirates, 64-49, on Jan. 25, 2006 in Greenville. In three contests against the Pirates, Josh Peppers is averaging 16.7 points. He is shooting 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from 3-point range versus the Pirates. In UCF's 65-52 win over East Carolina in the opening round of the Conference USA Championship in Memphis on March 8, 2006, Peppers hit five treys and finished with a game-high 25 points. The Golden Knights blocked nine shots against East Carolina, with Adam Gill recording four swats in the victory.

About East Carolina: The Pirates, who are 4-6 at home this season, dropped an 83-74 contest at Rice on Saturday. East Carolina led 42-37 at halftime, but the Owls' Morris Almond scored 21 of his 34 points after intermission. Courtney Captain hit five 3-pointers and paced the Pirates with 21 points. Darnell Jenkins leads the team in scoring at 12.1 points per game and ranks first in Conference USA, dishing out 5.67 assists an outing. Gabe Blair, who ranks second in the conference in rebounds (7.5) is one of the top freshman in C-USA. The Pirates are last in the league in scoring (60.5), but are limiting their foes to just 65.1 points. East Carolina is shooting 40.6 percent from the floor and 31.5 percent from deep.

UCF Last Time Out: Lavell Payne totaled a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds to lift UCF past visiting Tulsa, 63-53, on Saturday. The Golden Knights limited Tulsa to just 30 percent shooting overall. Payne scored 13 points in the first half and the hosts led, 32-24, at intermission. UCF shot 48.9 percent from the floor for the game. Dave Noel and Jermaine Taylor both finished with 11 points in the win and Noel added five boards, five assists and two steals in 30 minutes. The Golden Hurricane mustered just three field goals in the last 10 minutes of the game.

UCF-East Carolina Connections: East Carolina junior guard Cory Farmer and the Golden Knights' Lavell Payne were teammates at Tallahassee Community College during the 2004-05 campaign.

Winning Mentality: UCF has already eclipsed its victory total from a year ago. In 2005-06, the Golden Knights went 14-15 overall. Through 22 contests last season, UCF had a 10-12 record.

Tar Heel State Success: UCF has claimed six-straight games in North Carolina. A year ago, the Golden Knights won at East Carolina. From 2002-05, the squad went 5-0 in the state, posting Atlantic Sun Conference victories against Campbell (3) and Gardner-Webb (2).

Three the Easy Way: The Golden Knights are shooting 40.3 percent from 3-point range this year. The mark paces Conference USA and ranks 18th nationally. UCF has two of the most accurate shooters from deep in the conference. Mike O'Donnell leads the league, shooting at a 46.6 percent clip. Making 44 percent of his 3-point field-goal attempts, Jermaine Taylor ranks third.

From Deep: UCF is 11-4 when making seven or more 3-pointers in 2006-07. The squad is averaging 7.8 triples per game, which ranks second among all Conference USA programs.

Road Warrior: Jermaine Taylor has shined on the road this season. The sophomore has scored in double-figures in five of UCF's seven road games this season and has scored over 20 points three times away from Orlando. Taylor is averaging 15.7 points and 4.1 rebounds on the road.

At the Half: The Golden Knights are 13-1 when leading at halftime this season. UCF has led at intermission in five of its eight Conference USA contests this year.

Points Add Up for Peppers: With nine points in UCF's win over Tulsa on Saturday, Josh Peppers moved into 10th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,219 points. Bennie Shaw, who played at UCF from 1974-76, is ninth with 1,238 points. Peppers scored 12 points in the win over Florida Atlantic on Dec. 9 to become just the 13th 1,000-point scorer in program history. The Memphis, Tenn. native became the first Golden Knight to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier since Paul Reed achieved the feat during the 2001-02 season.

Pepp Steps Up: Josh Peppers has been UCF's top offensive player in Conference USA action. He is averaging a team-best 13.1 points and has scored in double-figures in four of the Golden Knights' eight contests. The senior forward from Memphis is shooting 80 percent at the free-throw line and is averaging 4.4 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals.

A Major Payne in C-USA Play: Since Conference USA play began in early January, Lavell Payne has excelled for the Golden Knights. In C-USA action, Payne is averaging 11.8 points and 5.4 boards while shooting 55.6 percent overall. In non-league play, the senior from Fort Lauderdale averaged 8.4 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting at a 42.4 percent clip.

Payne From Deep: In UCF's first 18 games of 2006-07, Lavell Payne attempted three 3-pointers, missing them all. Payne now feels more comfortable shooting from deep and is 3-of-5 from 3-point range in the Golden Knights' last three games. A year ago, he made one triple.

Target Practice: The Golden Knights lead Conference USA, shooting 48.4 percent from the field. The team ranks 31st nationally. Jermaine Taylor is 10th in the league at 50.7 percent. Lavell Payne is 14th in C-USA (48 percent). UCF has shot 50 percent or better from the field 10 times this year. The Golden Knights are 9-1 in those contests.

Taylor-Made: A year ago, Jermaine Taylor scored 130 points as a freshman, seeing time in all 29 of UCF's games. In 22 contests in 2006-07, the sophomore has totaled 306 points and leads UCF at 13.9 points per game. He has paced UCF in scoring 10 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 16 of the Golden Knights' 22 games. He has made 50 triples this season after canning 17 a year ago. Last season, Taylor shot 39.5 percent overall and 30.4 percent from deep. He is currently hitting 50.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and is shooting 45 percent from behind-the-arc.

The Veteran: Josh Peppers has appeared in 114 games while at UCF, good for fifth in program history. The senior forward has played in a pair of NCAA Tournament games at UCF and is on pace to break the school's all-time games played mark of 122.

This Date in UCF History: Roberto Morentin totaled 20 points and six rebounds to lead UCF to a 73-57 victory over Lipscomb in 2004 in Nashville. Dexter Lyons added 14 points in the win. The Golden Knights are 12-1 all-time on Feb. 7.

Up Next: UCF hosts Marshall at noon on Saturday. The contest will be televised regionally on Comcast Sports South. Marshall has a 2-1 edge in the all-time series, but the Golden Knights posted a 78-71 win over the host Thundering Herd on Jan. 13. Mike O'Donnell hit four 3-pointers after halftime and paced UCF with 20 points. Dave Noel went 8-of-8 at the free-throw line and totaled 17 points. The Golden Knights shot 51.9 percent overall and 46.7 percent from 3-point range. Marshall was led by Markel Humphrey with 25 points. In three games versus the Thundering Herd, Josh Peppers is averaging 16.7 points. On Jan. 11, 2006, UCF and Marshall met for the first time and the visiting Thundering Herd recorded a 73-69 win in the Conference USA debut for both schools.