Knights to Face Tough Test on Road

Dec. 15, 2007

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RENO, Nev. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will face a tough test on the road on Sunday evening, meeting Nevada in Reno at the Lawlor Events Center. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. Eastern.

UCF (5-4) will be playing a contest outside of Florida for the first time in 2007-08. The Wolf pack are 4-4 overall this year, but have won 27 of their last 29 home contests.

The two programs will be meeting for the second time this season as the Knights opened the campaign on Nov. 11 with a 63-60 win over Nevada in the inaugural game at the new UCF Arena.

The contest will be aired on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Team in Orlando. Marc Daniels will provide the call and audio of the game 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 236-191 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 318-212 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
? Nevada head coach Mark Fox (Eastern New Mexico, 1991) is 85-22 in his fourth season as a head coach and fourth campaign with the Wolf Pack.

? UCF and the Wolf Pack will be meeting for the second time this season. On Nov. 11, the Knights held on for a 63-60 win over Nevada in the inaugural game at the new UCF Arena. The contest served as the first meeting between the two programs.
? Dave Noel and Kenrick Zondervan both scored 14 points in the win and Noel added nine boards. UCF's Chip Cartwright scored 11 points and dished out six assists in 28 minutes of action.
? Marcelus Kemp paced all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-22 shooting overall and a 1-of-8 performance from 3-point range in the losing effort. ? All-time, the Knights are 3-4 against schools from the Western Athletic Conference. UCF has claimed three-straight victories against WAC programs.
? UCF will be playing in Nevada for the second time in program history. In December of 1995, the Knights competed at the UNLV Holiday Classic in Las Vegas. UCF lost both of its contests at the event, falling to host UNLV and Davidson.

? The Wolf Pack have won two-straight games, most recently a 76-62 victory over visiting San Diego on Wednesday. Nevada has claimed 27 of its last 29 contests at home. Since the start of the 2003-04 campaign, the team is 63-7 in Reno.
? Brandon Fields led the squad with a career-high 17 points versus San Diego. Five Nevada players finished with double-figures in scoring as the hosts shot 49.1 percent from the field.
? One of the top players in the country, Marcelus Kemp is the team's top scorer (18.1). He has four 20-point games this season.

? The Knights will have a long layoff before hosting Connecticut on Dec. 28 at the new UCF Arena. The contest will be televised live nationally on CSTV.
? The Huskies are one of three BIG EAST teams (Villanova, USF) on UCF's schedule this season. UCF and Connecticut will be playing for the second time as the programs met in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament in Worcester, Mass. The second-seeded Huskies escaped with a 77-71 win over the Knights.

? The Knights used a strong defensive effort on Tuesday to post a 65-52 victory over visiting Louisiana-Lafayette at the new UCF Arena. UCF held the Ragin' Cajuns to just 13 field goals and a 23.3 percent shooting performance from the floor.
? Jermaine Taylor paced the hosts with 18 points and Dave Noel added 14 points in the win. UCF dominated inside, finishing with a 32-10 scoring advantage in the paint.

? Four of UCF's first nine opponents in 2007-08 participated in the postseason a year ago. The Knights have already faced Nevada (NCAA), Villanova (NCAA), Kansas State (NIT) and Ole Miss (NIT) this year.
? Villanova (No. 19) and Kansas State (No. 18) were both ranked when meeting the Knights. Nevada and Ole Miss were both garnering votes in national polls when those squads played UCF.
? Nine games into the season, UCF has already faced a pair of BIG EAST programs (Villanova, USF) and teams from the Big Ten (Penn State), Big 12 (Kansas State) and SEC (Ole Miss).

? All four of UCF's losses this season have been by nine points or less.
? Two of the squad's defeats have been on neutral sites and one came on the road.

? UCF's contest at Nevada will serve as the team's first game outside of Florida this season. The Knights began the season with five road games, three contests at the Old Spice Classic at nearby Walt Disney World and a game at USF in Tampa.
? UCF will play 20 games in the state of Florida this season, including 16 at the new UCF Arena.
? The Knights' first out-of-state game of the year will come 35 days since the team started the campaign on Nov. 11. A year ago, the squad played its first game outside of Florida on Dec. 12 at Minnesota after beginning the season on Nov. 15.

? The contest at Nevada will mark the third time in as many years that the Knights have played in the western part of the continental United States. A year ago, UCF played at Colorado. In 2005-06, the team competed at the Fiesta Bowl Classic in Tucson, Ariz.

? UCF is 2-0 when playing on Sunday in 2007-08. The squad's season-opening victory over Nevada in Orlando occurred on a Sunday.
? Last season, the Knights did not play a game on a Sunday.

? The Knights are 5-0 when leading at halftime this year. In 2006-07, UCF went 17-4 when taking an advantage into intermission.

? UCF has limited three opponents this season to below 60 points. Foes are averaging 65.3 points versus the Knights this year.
? Opponents are shooting 39 percent from the floor against UCF and 31.9 percent from deep.

? UCF is familiar with facing a non-conference opponent twice in the same season. During the 2004-05 campaign, the Knights played UMKC in Orlando and on the road. UCF won both of the games against the Kangaroos.

? When Mike O'Donnell takes the court against Nevada on Sunday, it will mark his 70th-consecutive start. In his third season playing with the Knights after transferring from NC State, O'Donnell has made 69 starts. He has not missed a start or a game during that time.

? Jermaine Taylor has led the Knights in scoring in six-straight contests. In 2006-07, a player did not pace the team in points for more than two-consecutive games.
? The last time that a UCF player led the Knights in scoring in at least six-straight games occurred in 2003-04 when Dexter Lyons paced the squad in points during a six-game span.
? No Knight has led the team in scoring for seven or more consecutive contests since 1997-98 when Mark Jones was the leader in eight-straight games.

? Starting for the first time during his collegiate career, Jermaine Taylor is averaging a team-best 17.7 points, which ranks fifth in Conference USA. 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).
? Taylor has five 20-point performances in 2007-08 and 17 for his career.
? This season, Taylor has exhibited a well-rounded game. He ranks third on the team in rebounds (4.7 per game) and assists (2.1).

? Jermaine Taylor has connected on 19 3-pointers this season and is one shy of the 100 triples mark for his career. In 69 games with the Knights, the junior guard has made 99 3-pointers.

? UCF's starting lineup features three guards - Dave Noel, Mike O'Donnell and Jermaine Taylor. The trio has combined to score 58.9 percent of the Knights' points this season.
? The three perimeter players are averaging a combined 41.2 points per game and have made 52 of UCF's 62 3-pointers in 2007-08.

? Dating back to the start of last season, UCF has enjoyed great continuity in its starting lineup. This year, head coach Kirk Speraw has used the same linuep - Mike O'Donnell, Dave Noel, Jermaine Taylor, Kenrick Zondervan and Stanley Billings - each game.
? A year ago, O'Donnell, Noel, Josh Peppers, Lavell Payne and Zondervan started together for 30 of UCF's 31 games. On senior night, Zondervan was replaced in the starting five by Adam Gill.

? In just his third season in Orlando after transferring from NC State, Mike O'Donnell is making his mark in the UCF record book. He is currently listed in four career statistical categories: 3-point field goals (143 - 7th), 3-point field goal attempts (357 - 8th), 3-point field goal percentage (.401 - 4th) and assists (258 - 7th).

? UCF's starting shooting guard, Dave Noel, leads the team in rebounding this season (5.9). He has four games with seven or more rebounds this year.

? Stanley Billings had one of the best outings of his career in the Knights' win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday. The senior center totaled a career-high four blocks in a career-high 26 minutes. He matched his career-high with six rebounds and also added a career-best two steals.
? As UCF's starting center this season, he is averaging 5.1 points, 3.9 boards and 1.3 swats per game. Billings is shooting a team-high 52.8 percent from the floor.