UCF, USF to Meet on the Hardwood Saturday

Nov. 30, 2007

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will be seeking its third-consecutive win on Saturday evening when the Knights take on cross-state foe USF in Tampa. Tip-off at the Sun Dome is set for 7 p.m.

The Knights (4-2) have not played USF since the 2001-02 campaign. The game will serve as a homecoming for UCF senior guard Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo), who is from the St. Petersburg area.

The contest will be the Knights' first true road game of the season. Last week, the team played three games at the Old Spice Classic at Disney's Wide World of Sports. The Knights' other three games have all been played at the new UCF Arena.

USF is 4-3 in 2007-08 and has won four-straight contests.

UCF fans can listen to the game live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Team in Orlando. Scott Adams will have the call from the Sun Dome. Live audio will also be available at www.ucfathletics.com.

? Kirk Speraw (Iowa, 1980) is in his 15th season as UCF's head coach. He owns a 235-189 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 317-210 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
? USF is coached by Stan Heath (Eastern Michigan, 1988). He is 4-3 in his first year with the Bulls. In seven years as a head coach, he is 116-80.

? UCF and the Bulls will be meeting for the 22nd occasion on the hardwood, but for the first time since 2002. The programs, separated by 100 miles, have played each other just twice since 2000.
? The Bulls have a 17-4 edge in the all-time series, including a 9-2 advantage in Tampa. The Bulls have claimed eight-consecutive victories against the Knights. UCF's last win came in 1994 in Orlando.
? In the last series matchup, USF claimed an 84-79 victory in Orlando on Jan. 29, 2002 behind 29 points from Will McDonald. Ray Abellard and Joey Graham each scored 19 points for the Knights at the old UCF Arena.

? The Bulls have won four-consecutive games. On Monday, USF topped host Florida International, 77-69, behind 21 points from Kentrell Granberry. The Bulls shot 53.8 percent from the floor versus the Golden Panthers.
? USF began the year 0-3, but have since posted wins over Florida Atlantic, Florida State, East Carolina and the Golden Panthers.
? One of the best post players in the BIG EAST Conference, Granberry is averaging 17.2 points and 9.7 boards in 2007-08. Chris Howard has totaled 52 assists in seven games for the Bulls, who are averaging 76 points per contest.

? The Knights are slated to host Ole Miss on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the new UCF Arena. The squads will be meeting for the first time.
? The contest with the Rebels will mark the first time since 1997 (Auburn) that a Southeastern Conference opponent will face the Knights in Orlando.

? The contest at USF in Tampa will serve as a homecoming for UCF's Mike O'Donnell. A native of nearby Largo, the senior guard graduated from Largo High School in 2003.
? As a senior in 2002-03, O'Donnell was named the St. Petersburg Times Player of the Year after averaging 21.2 points, 5.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds for the Packers.
? O'Donnell is one of two players from the Tampa-area on the UCF roster. Sophomore forward A.J. Tyler, who is sitting out the year after transferring from Clemson, is from Palm Harbor.
? Sophomore forward Tony Davis, who hails from Sarasota, will also be playing close to home.

? The Knights have won seven-consecutive games against in-state opponents. Last season, the squad went 6-0 against Florida programs.
? Since the start of the 2001-02 campaign, UCF is 32-11 against in-state opponents.

? UCF has not played a true road game in Florida since heading south to Boca Raton to meet Florida Atlantic on Dec. 13, 2005. Last year, the Knights did not play an in-state road game.
? In late November of this season, UCF played three neutral site games in Florida, participating in the Old Spice Classic at Disney's Wide World of Sports.
? The Knights have not played in Tampa since Dec. 15, 2000, when they lost to the Bulls at the Sun Dome (85-55).

? UCF did not have to travel far last week to compete in one of the nation's top tournaments. Playing in nearby Lake Buena Vista at Disney's Wide World of Sports, UCF faced programs from three of the nation's top conferences - Villanova (BIG EAST), Kansas State (Big 12) and Penn State (Big Ten) - at the Old Spice Classic.
? The Knights went 1-2 at the event, but closed the tournament with an impressive 70-59 victory over Penn State on Sunday.
? UCF's two losses came to two nationally-ranked squads - No. 19 Villanova and No. 18 Kansas State - by an average of five points.
? All three of UCF's games at the event were nationally-televised, with the squad's contest versus Villanova on Thanksgiving day shown on ESPN2.

? Jermaine Taylor scored 22 points as UCF eased to an 80-53 home win over Presbyterian at the new UCF Arena on Wednesday. The Knights shot 60 percent overall for the game.
? UCF led 49-37 at halftime and limited the Blue Hose to just 16 points on 5-of-28 shooting (17.9 percent) from the floor after intermission.
? Taylor, who shot 9-of-12 overall for the game, scored 18 of his 22 points before halftime. The Knights domiated inside, finishing with a 46-16 advantage in the paint.

? Three of UCF's first six opponents in 2007-08 participated in the postseason a year ago. The Knights have already faced Nevada (NCAA), Villanova (NCAA) and Kansas State (NIT) this year.
? Villanova (No. 19) and Kansas State (No. 18) were both ranked when meeting the Knights. Nevada, the squad's season-opening opponent, was garnering votes in both national polls at the time.
? UCF's non-conference schedule will get no easier. The Knights will play a pair of BIG EAST squads (at USF, vs. Connecticut), host a Southeastern Conference team (Ole Miss) and play at return game at Nevada before entering Conference USA play.

? Through six games this season, Jermaine Taylor leads the Knights in scoring at 17.0 points per game. The junior has four 20-point performances in 2007-08 and has scored at least 20 points in three-consecutive games.
? He recorded a pair of 20-point games against top competition at the Old Spice Classic and averaged 17.3 points at the tournament.
? Taylor is starting for the first time in his collegiate career. Last season, he came off of the bench in all 31 of UCF's games and was second on the team in scoring (12.7).

? Mike O'Donnell was one of the top 3-point shooters in Conference USA a year ago and this season has been no different. He is shooting 40.9 percent from deep in 2007-08.
? This year, 18 of O'Donnell's 24 made field goals have been from 3-point range.
? The senior guard averaged a team-high 18 points at the Old Spice Classic. He hit 12 treys in three games at the eight-team event.
? In just his third season with the Knights after transferring from NC State, O'Donnell has made 138 triples, good for eighth all-time at UCF. Gary Johnson (2003-05) is seventh on the career register (142).

? Mike O'Donnell is spending little time on the bench this season. The senior guard is averaging 35.7 minutes per contest.
? O'Donnell averaged 39.7 minutes at the Old Spice Classic last week. He played a career-high 43 minutes in UCF's 73-71 overtime loss to No. 19 Kansas State at the tournament.
? At the event, O'Donnell was on the floor for 119 of the 125 minutes that UCF played. He is one of three Knights averaging over 32 minutes a game. ? A year ago, no Knight averaged more than 31 minutes a contest.

? UCF has held its last two opponents to below 60 points. Penn State mustered 59 points against the Knights at the Old Spice Classic on Nov. 25 and Presbyterian was limited to just 53 points on Wednesday.
? In the last two contests, UCF's foes shot 36.6 percent overall and just 24.6 percent from 3-point range.

? Kenrick Zondervan has exhibited an improved all-around game this year. The junior from Holland is averaging 8.7 points and 6.0 boards, which ranks second on the team.
? A year ago, Zondervan started 30 games at center and averaged 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds. This past summer, he spent time practicing with the Dutch Senior National Team.

? Tony Davis made his season debut against No. 19 Villanova at the Old Spice Classic on Nov. 22. The sophomore forward averaged 18.3 minutes in three games at the event. Davis averaged 4.0 points, 3.3 boards and a block.
? He played well in UCF's 70-59 win over Penn State at the tournament, finishing with five points and six rebounds.
? Davis matched his career-high with 14 points versus Presbyterian on Wednesday. He is averaging 6.5 points and 3.5 boards in 2007-08. Davis averaged 2.9 points and 3.8 rebounds as a rookie in 2007-08. He played in all 31 of UCF's games as a reserve.