Knights to Host Tulsa in First C-USA Game at New UCF Arena

Jan. 11, 2008

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will play its inaugural Conference USA game inside the new UCF Arena on Saturday, hosting Tulsa at 7 p.m. Led by junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares), the Knights are 6-2 at the state-of-the-art new arena this season.

UCF (8-7, 1-0 C-USA) has won five-straight league contests at home. A year ago on their way to a second-place finish in the 12-team conference, the Knights went 7-1 in home C-USA games.

Tulsa (8-4) will be making its C-USA season debut on Saturday. The Golden Hurricane have won six-consecutive contests.

Fans attending the game will receive a complimentary 2007 UCF football championship poster. At halftime, the football team will be recognized for its successful campaign, which featured 10 victories, a C-USA Championship title and an appearance in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

UCF supporters who attend the game should save their ticket stubs. On Monday evening, the Applebee's on University Boulevard will be offering a 20 percent discount to all UCF fans who show their ticket stub from the Tulsa game and dine at the restaurant during the Kirk Speraw Call-In Show. The hour-long radio show, which airs on 740 AM in Orlando, starts at 6 p.m.

Tickets to the game are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and the UCF Ticket Office at Bright House Networks Stadium. On gameday, tickets can be purchased at the new UCF Arena.

The UCF Athletics Association is offering a pair of C-USA ticket deals. For more information about the ticket packages, call 407-UCF-1000. Students are admitted free to all UCF home contests.

The contest will air on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will provide the call and will be joined on the broadcast by former UCF player Josh Bodden.

Live audio, video and statistics are available at www.ucfathletics.com.

? Kirk Speraw (Iowa, 1980) is in his 15th season as UCF's head coach. He owns a 239-194 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 321-215 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
? Doug Wojcik (Navy, 1987) is 39-32 in his third year at Tulsa and his third campaign as a head coach.

? The Golden Hurricane have a 3-2 edge in the all-time series with UCF, but the Knights have won both series meetings in Orlando. Last year, UCF won 63-53 in Orlando and the Golden Hurricane posted a 66-64 victory in Tulsa in overtime.
? In the matchup in Orlando, the Knights limited Tulsa to just 30 percent shooting from the field. Josh Peppers paced all players with 20 points in the win. When the squads played in Tulsa, UCF shot just 34.6 percent overall and was led by Mike O'Donnell and Lavell Payne, who both totaled 14 points.

? The Golden Hurricane have won six-consecutive games. On Monday, they posted an 81-68 victory at Colorado behind 17 points from Glenn Andrews.
? Tulsa is averaging 71.7 points per contest, while allowing 63.8 points. The squad is third in Conference USA in field-goal percentage (46.1) and first in 3-point field goal percentage (38.1).
? Uzoh is the team's top scorer at 16.0 points per game. Calvin Walls is averaging 9.0 rebounds per contest and Jerome Jordan paces C-USA in blocks per game (3.5).

? Tulsa guard Rod Earls played at Paris Junior College with UCF's Mike Battle. The pair helped lead the Dragons to the 2005 National Junior College Athletic Association Division I title. Both players redshirted in 2005-06.

? The Knights travel to East Carolina to face the Pirates on Saturday. UCF has a 7-0 edge in the all-time series. Last year, UCF won a pair of games against East Carolina by a combined 31 points.

? Dave Noel scored a game-high 17 points and the Knights shut down Southern Miss on Tuesday in the Conference USA opener for both teams, posting a 52-41 win over the hosts. UCF limited the Golden Eagles to just 15 points in the first half.
? Southern Miss shot 32.6 percent for the game from the field and 10.0 percent from 3-point range.

? Since joining Conference USA with five other programs prior to the 2005-06 campaign, UCF has recorded 19 league victories, the most among the new members. UTEP (18), Tulsa (15), Rice (14), Marshall (13) and SMU (7) follow UCF.
? With the move, the Knights have faced the biggest increase in competition among the new schools, having previously competed in the Atlantic Sun Conference. In 2006-07, UCF went 11-5 in C-USA play to finish second in the 12-team league.

? UCF's 2007-08 schedule is without a doubt the toughest in program history. Five of UCF's first eight opponents in 2007-08 participated in the postseason a year ago. The Knights faced Nevada (NCAA - twice), Villanova (NCAA), Kansas State (NIT) and Ole Miss (NIT) this year in non-conference play.
? Villanova (No. 19) and Kansas State (No. 18) were both ranked when meeting the Knights. Nevada (Nov. 11), Ole Miss and Sam Houston State were all garnering votes in national polls when those squads played UCF.
? In non-league play, UCF faced three BIG EAST programs (Villanova, USF, Connecticut) and teams from the Big Ten (Penn State), Big 12 (Kansas State) and SEC (Ole Miss).

? The combined record of the seven squads that UCF has lost to in 2007-08 is 75-23. Villanova (11-2), Kansas State (10-4), USF (10-6), Ole Miss (13-1), Nevada (8-5), Connecticut (11-3) and Sam Houston State (12-2) all have winning records.

? In UCF's last four games, the Knights are limiting their foes to 55.0 points per contest. Just one of the team's opponents during the span scored more than 60 points against the Knights.
? Foes are shooting just 37.8 percent overall and 32.9 percent from deep in the last four games.

? On Tuesday against Southern Miss, UCF held the Golden Eagles to just 41 points. The 41 points were the second-fewest scored by a UCF opponent since the Knights joined the Divsion I ranks prior to the 1984-85 campaign.
? During Kirk Speraw's 15 years as UCF's head coach, the Knights have held their foe to below 50 points on 13 occasions. Seven of those stellar defensive performances have come since the start of the 2005-06 campaign.

? UCF's seven losses this year have come by an average of five points. Three of those contests were decided by three or fewer points and two defeats have come in overtime.
? The Knights fell to No. 18 Kansas State and traditional power Connecticut by a combined five points.

? Prior to Tuesday's game at Southern Miss, Jermaine Taylor had paced the Knights in scoring in 11-consecutive contests. On the season, he is averaging a team-best 19.5 points, which ranks fourth in Conference USA.
? The junior has 10 20-point performances in 2007-08 and has led the team in scoring in 12 of its 15 games.
? On Dec. 31, he was named the C-USA Player of the Week for the first time in his career. He earned the award after averaging 25.2 points in a pair of games. He totaled a career-high 30 points against Connecticut on Dec. 28.

? Each season at UCF, Jermaine Taylor has shown great improvement on the court. This year, the junior is one of Conference USA's top players, averaging 19.5 points.
? In 2006-07, he came off of the bench in all 31 of UCF's games and averaged 12.7 points. As a freshman the previous season, Taylor averaged 4.3 points in 11.7 minutes per game. He shot just 39.5 percent overall and 30.4 percent from 3-point range as a rookie.

? In just his third campaign with the Knights, Jermaine Taylor already ranks 10th all-time at UCF with 118 career 3-pointers. His former teammate Troy Lindbeck (2002-06) is ninth with 120 treys.
? Taylor's ascension to the career list is impressive, considering he only hit 17 triples as a freshman in 2005-06.

? Jermaine Taylor led UCF and matched a career-high with eight rebounds at Southern Miss on Tuesday. On the season, he is averaging 4.7 boards, which ranks third on the team.
? A year ago, he averaged 3.2 rebounds.

? In its first campaign at the new UCF Arena, UCF is 6-2 at home this season. A year ago, the squad won a school-record 15 games as the team played its final year at the old UCF Arena.
? Since the start of the 2003-04 camaign, the Knights are 55-12 in Orlando.
? In two seasons in Conference USA, UCF is 11-4 in league contests at home.

? In their inaugural campaign at the new UCF Arena, the Knights are averaging 4,576 fans per game. UCF has played eight home contests in 2007-08 and five of the top-seven highest single-game attendance totals in program history have already been recorded.
? A school-record 6,224 fans watched the Knights play Connecticut on Dec. 28 at the new facility. Last year, the Knights boasted a school-record 2,706 fans per game at the old UCF Arena.

? UCF is starting three guards in 2007-08 and the trio of perimeter players - Mike O'Donnell, Dave Noel and Jermaine Taylor - have accounted for 60.9 percent of the Knights' points. Taylor (19.5) paces the Knights in scoring, followed by Noel (13.1) and O'Donnell (10.3).
? The three players have combined to make 91 of UCF's 105 3-pointers this season.

? UCF is 8-0 when leading at halftime in 2007-08. In the last two years, the squad is 25-4 when taking an advantage into intermission.

? 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 five career statistical categories: 3-point field goals (154-7th), 3-point field goal attempts (397-7th), 3-point field goal percentage (.388-9th), assists (275-7th) and steals (120-10th).
? O'Donnell has started 75-consecutive games for the Knights and has not missed a contest or a start during his time at UCF.

? Mike O'Donnell established a new career-high by playing 44 minutes in UCF's overtime contest at Sam Houston State last Saturday. O'Donnell leads UCF, averaging 34.0 minutes per contest this season.
? He has played at least 35 minutes in eight of UCF's 15 contests in 2007-08.

? Averaging 1.8 steals per game, Mike O'Donnell currently leads Conference USA in the category. O'Donnell has 27 steals on the year. He paced the Knights in steals last season with 48.

? In recent years, Dave Noel has been known as UCF's top defender. This season, the senior guard has been exhibiting a well-rounded game.
? He is averaging 13.1 points and 4.3 boards while shooting 52 percent overall and 45.2 percent from 3-point range.

? As a junior in 2006-07, Dave Noel went 18-of-51 (35.3 percent) from 3-point range. This season Noel has been solid from deep. He is 19-of-42 (45.2 percent) from long distance this year.
? Prior to this year, Noel had made just 36 treys as a collegiate player.

? UCF ranks third in Conference USA, averaging 14.7 assists per game. The Knights have recorded 221 assists this year, compared to 189 for their opponents.