Knights to Meet Host East Carolina on Saturday

Jan. 18, 2008

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will be seeking its third-consecutive win when it faces East Carolina on Saturday evening in Greenville, N.C. Tip-off from Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum is slated for 7 p.m.

UCF (9-7, 2-0) is looking to open up Conference USA play with three-straight victories for the first time since joining the league three years ago. Junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) is averaging 20.5 points in C-USA games and garnered the league's player of the week award on Monday.

The Pirates are 7-8 overall in 2007-08. East Carolina is off to a 1-1 start in league play.

The game will air locally on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 AM in Orlando. Audio and live statistics 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 240-194 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 322-215 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
? Mack McCarthy (Virginia Tech, 1974) is in his first year as the head coach at East Carolina. He is 316-185 in 17 years as a head coach.

? The Knights lead the all-time series with East Carolina, 7-0. In three series matchups in Greenville, UCF is 3-0. Last season, the Knights won 67-49 on the road and 77-64 over the Pirates in Orlando. The contest in Orlando served as the final game inside the old UCF Arena.
? A year ago in the meeting in Greenville, Josh Peppers went 9-of-10 from the field and scored 24 points. In 26 minutes off of the bench, Jermaine Taylor totaled 17 points.
? In five career contests against the Pirates, Mike O'Donnell is averaging 4.4 assists.

? The Pirates have won three of their last four games. On Wednesday, they posted a 75-62 victory over visiting Marshall.
? Sam Hinnant scored a game-high 24 points against the Thundering Herd. He paces East Carolina in points at 12.3 per contest. Gabe Blair is fifth in Conference USA in rebounds per game (7.8).
? Last season, the Pirates won just six total games and one in league play. They are 6-6 at home this year.

? UCF's next contest is slated for Wednesday at home against UTEP. The Knights have a 2-1 edge in the all-time series and have won both matchups since the programs joined Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 campaign.

? Playing in the inaugural Conference USA game inside the new UCF Arena on Saturday, the Knights claimed a thrilling 97-91 win over Tulsa in three overtimes. Jermaine Taylor, who played 49 minutes, scored seven of his game-high 28 points in the third extra session to lift the Knights to the win.
? The contest was played in front of a UCF-record 7,097 fans.
? UCF led 40-25 at halftime, but the Golden Hurricane rallied in the second half. The Knights trailed by five with 32 seconds to go in the second overtime, but Mike O'Donnell hit a three and then hit a pair of free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt to send the game into a third session.
? In the third overtime, Taylor nailed two treys to help the hosts build a six-point lead.

? Three Knights are very familiar with the Tar Heel State. While in the Marines, Stanley Billings was stationed at Camp Lejeune, which is located in Jacksonville, N.C.
? Two other UCF seniors - Dave Noel and Mike O'Donnell - began their collegiate careers in North Carolina during the 2003-04 campaign. Noel played at UNC-Wilmington, while O'Donnell attended NC State.

? UCF has won seven-consecutive games in North Carolina. In each of the last two seasons, the squad has recorded a victory at East Carolina.
? From 2002-05, the Knights went 5-0 in the state, posting Atlantic Sun wins over Campbell (3) and Gardner-Webb (2).

? Since joining Conference USA with five other programs prior to the 2005-06 campaign, UCF has recorded 20 league victories, the most among the new members. UTEP (19), 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. In 2006-07, UCF went 11-5 in C-USA play to finish second in the 12-team league.

? Jermaine Taylor leads UCF and ranks fourth in Conference USA in points per game at 20.0. The junior guard has paced the Knights in points in 13 of their 16 contests this season.
? Taylor has recorded 20-point performances on 11 occasions in 2007-08. He has scored in double-figures in 13-consecutive games.
? Nationally, he ranks 33rd in points per game, 71st in 3-point field-goal percentage (38.9) and 81st in 3-point field goals per game (2.6).

? After leading the Knights to a 2-0 start in Conference USA play, Jermaine Taylor was named the Conference USA player of the Week on Monday, Jan. 14. He averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in a pair of contests.
? In the Knights' 97-91 triple-overtime victory over Tulsa, Taylor played a career-high 49 minutes and led all players with 28 points. He also paced UCF with nine boards.
? 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.
? Taylor is the first Knight to earn conference player of the week honors on two occasions in the same season since 1998-99 when Brad Traina claimed a pair of Atlantic Sun awards.

? 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 20.0 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.

? Jermaine Taylor has improved more than his offensive game since arriving at UCF. This season, he is averaging a career-best 4.9 rebounds. A year ago, he averaged 3.2 rebounds.
? In each of the Knights' last two games, he has established new career highs in boards. He led UCF with nine rebounds, including four offensive, in the win over Tulsa last Saturday.

? In just his third campaign with the Knights, Jermaine Taylor already ranks ninth all-time at UCF with 122 career 3-pointers. Ironically, his first cousin, Darryl Davis, is eighth on the school's all-time treys list. Davis played for the Knights from 1991-95 and connected on 129 triples.
? Taylor's ascension to the career list is impressive, considering he only hit 17 triples as a freshman in 2005-06.

? The triple-overtime win over Tulsa on Saturday served as just the third three-overtime game in UCF history and the first since 1977.
? The contest also served as the Knights' third overtime game of the season and first win in 2007-08 in extra sessions.

? Four Knights logged career highs in minutes in the win over Tulsa on Saturday. In the triple-overtime game, four Knights - Dave Noel (51), Jermaine Taylor (49), Mike O'Donnell (44) and Stanley Billings (40) - all played at least 40 minutes.
? O'Donnell paces the squad in minutes at 34.6 per game. The contest marked the third time this season that he spent more than 40 minutes on the court.

? Stanley Billings played the best game of his collegiate career in the Knights' win over Tulsa. In a career-high 40 minutes, he totaled a career-best 17 points and eight rebounds.
? As UCF's starting center, he is averaging 5.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 2007-08.

? UCF is 9-0 when leading at halftime in 2007-08. In the last two years, the squad is 26-4 when taking an advantage into intermission.

? 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 60.6 percent of the Knights' points. Taylor (20.0) paces the Knights in scoring, followed by Noel (12.9) and O'Donnell (10.3).
? The three players have combined to make 98 of UCF's 112 3-pointers this season.

? Dave Noel ranks second all-time at UCF in free-throw percentage, shooting 83.3 percent at the line. This season, the senior guard is fifth in Conference USA in the category (83.3).

? During his time at UCF, Dave Noel has been known as the team's defensive stopper. This year, he is showing off a well-rounded game, averaging 12.9 points, which ranks second on the squad.
? A year ago, Noel averaged 9.1 points. In his first campaign with the Knights after transferring from UNC-Wilmington, Noel totaled 2.8 points per game as the team's backup point guard in 2005-06.
? He has made 47-consecutive starts at shooting guard.

? After struggling offensively at the UCF Holiday Classic (Dec. 30-31) and at Sam Houston State on Jan. 5, Mike O'Donnell has been shooting the ball with confidence in the Knights' last two games. In wins over Southern Miss and Tulsa, O'Donnell shot 58.8 percent overall and 55.6 percent from deep, going 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
? He averaged 14.0 points during the span. Against Tulsa on Jan. 12, he hit three triples and finished with 18 points.

? Averaging 1.9 steals per game, Mike O'Donnell currently leads Conference USA in the category. O'Donnell has 30 steals on the year. He paced the Knights in steals last season with 48.

? 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 (157-6th), 3-point field goal attempts (403-7th), 3-point field goal percentage (.390-7th), assists (276-7th) and steals (123-10th).
? O'Donnell has started 76-consecutive games for the Knights and has not missed a contest or a start during his time at UCF.

? Chip Cartwright took advantage of UCF's triple-overtime contest against Tulsa on Jan. 12, playing a career-high 39 minutes. The backup point guard was on the court during the final minutes of the game concluded the contest with a career-high 15 points, plus six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
? Cartwright is among the Conference USA leaders in assists per game, averaging 4.2. He has totaled 67 assists on the year.
? Last season, in his first year with the Knights after transferring from Angelina College, he recorded 46 assists in 24 games.

? Tony Davis grabbed a career-best 13 boards at Sam Houston State on Jan. 5. The sophomore is averaging a team-high 6.4 rebounds this year.
? In UCF's last four contests, Davis is averaging 7.0 rebounds.

? As a freshman last season, Tony Davis recorded just 15 blocked shots in 31 games. In only 14 contests in 2007-08, Davis has already recorded 23 swats.
? At USF on Dec. 1, Davis established a program single-game record with eight blocks.