Knights Looking to Continue C-USA Success at SMU

Jan. 25, 2008


Complete Release in PDF Format

DALLAS (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will be seeking to continue its Conference USA success when it meets host SMU for a league contest on Saturday evening at Moody Coliseum. The Knights, who enter the game 11-7 overall, are off to a 4-0 start in C-USA play.

Tip-off for the game is slated for 8 p.m. EST.

The Knights are currently tied with No. 1 Memphis and Houston for first in the C-USA standings. UCF is coming off one of its best shooting performances in school history. On Wednesday, the Knights shot 70.2 percent overall on their way to a 109-80 win over UTEP at the new UCF Arena.

The Knights boast one of the league's top scorers in junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Taveres). In league games, the all-conference candidate is averaging a C-USA-best 24.3 points.

After facing the Mustangs, UCF will play three-consecutive games in Orlando.

SMU is 6-11 overall and 0-4 in league action this season.

The contest will be aired on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will provide the call from Dallas.

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

? Kirk Speraw (Iowa, 1980) is in his 15th season as UCF's head coach. He owns a 242-194 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 324-215 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
? Matt Doherty (North Carolina, 1984) is 20-28 in is second year with the Mustangs. In seven seasons as a head coach, he has a 110-99 mark.

? The all-time series is tied 1-1, with the Mustangs claiming the only meeting in Dallas two years ago.
? Last season, the Knights posted a 64-56 win over SMU in Orlando behind 18 points off of the bench from Jermaine Taylor. On Jan. 18, 2006, the host Mustangs posted a 77-55 win over the Knights. UCF was led by Josh Peppers, who scored 14 points. Troy Lindbeck hit four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points for the Knights.

? SMU fell 67-52 at Tulane on Wednesday, despite 15 points each from Bamba Fall and Jon Killen. Killen paces the Mustangs in scoring at 11.9 points per game.
? SMU is averaging 65.4 points per game. Papa Dia leads the team on the boards (6.8) and Fall ranks fourth in Conference USA in blocks per game (2.2).
? Five of the Mustangs six victories in 2007-08 have come at home.

? UCF opens a three-game homestand on Wednesday against UAB. The Blazers have a 2-0 edge in the all-time series. The teams will be meeting in Orlando for the second time.
? A year ago in Birmingham, the Blazers posted a 74-64 win over the Knights in overtime. In two contests against UAB, Mike O'Donnell is averaging 12.0 points and 5.0 assists.

? UCF tied a school-record by shooting 70.2 percent from the floor as the Knights posted a 109-80 win over visiting UTEP on Wednesday. Five Knights finished the game with double-figures in scoring, led by Jermaine Taylor (24). UCF improved to 8-2 at home in its first campaign at the 10,000-seat new UCF Arena.
? The Knights led 56-31 at halftime after shooting 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) from deep before intermission. For the game, UCF made 40-of-57 field goal attempts and shot at a 64.7 percent (11-of-17) clip from 3-point range.

? Since joining Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 campaign, the Knights have won 22 league contests, a mark that is tied for second among the 12 C-USA programs during that span. Memphis has won 34 C-USA games in the last three years, followed by the Knights, Houston (22) and UAB (22).
? UCF entered C-USA with five other programs. Besides the Knights, UTEP (19) and Tulsa (16) have posted the most league victories among the new members.
? With the move to C-USA, 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.

? UCF's 109-80 Conference USA win over UTEP on Wednesday was historic on several fronts.
? UCF equaled its best shooting effort during the school's Division I era as the Knights connected on 40-of-57 attempts (70.2 percent) from the floor. The Knights were also 40-for-57 from the floor versus Samford in 1998. The 70.2 percent shooting clip from the field was the highest recorded in a C-USA game in league history.
? The 109 points scored in a league game ranked fourth all-time in C-USA history and were the most since USF totaled 117 against TCU in 2002.
? The 109 points that UCF scored were the most given up by UTEP since it allowed Arizona State to total 119 in 1961 and were the third-most scored by a Miner opponent in school history. UTEP began its program in 1913.
? UCF had not scored over 100 points since the 2003-04 campaign, when it totaled 106 versus Campbell.
? The 56 points scored by UCF in the first half was good for third all-time in the league annals.
? As a team, the Knights finished 11-for-17 (64.1 percent) from 3-point range, which is its best percentage of the season and ties for the fifth-best in the Division I era.
? The victory margin was the most for the Knights against a league team since the program joined C-USA.

? On his way to 19 points in the win over UTEP, Mike O'Donnell went 6-of-6 from 3-point range, which equaled his school record. Ironically, he set the school single-game 3-point field-goal percentage record with a 6-of-6 showing from deep against UTEP in 2006 at home.
? Dave Noel went 7-of-7 from the field, Tony Davis made all six of his field-goal attempts and Jermaine Taylor made 9-of-12 shots from the floor in the victory.

? The contest at SMU will serve as the Knights' eighth game in the state of Texas since the start of the 2005-06 season. The game will mark the second of four contests that UCF will play in the Lone Star State this year.
? UCF faced Sam Houston State on Jan. 5 and will also make trips to Houston and Rice later in the season.

? When UCF entered Conference USA in 2005, the school was joined by five other programs, including four schools that were members of the Western Athletic Conference. Since joining C-USA, the Knights are 10-3 against the former WAC programs: UTEP (3-0), Tulsa (3-1), Rice (3-1) and SMU (1-1).

? UCF has been stellar offensively in Conference USA play, averaging a league-high 82.2 points. In league action, UCF boasts a +12.8 scoring margin.
? Against C-USA foes, the Knights are shooting 51.6 percent overall and 42.6 percent from deep. Both percentages pace the league.

? In UCF's two Conference USA road contests this year, the Knights' defense has shut down opponents in the first half. Southern Miss and East Carolina averaged just 19 points against UCF in the first half.
? Before intermission, the teams shot a combined 29.2 percent overall and just 1-of-9 (11 percent) from 3-point range.
? UCF raced out to a 12-3 lead at Southern Miss on Jan. 8 and led 25-5 with eight minutes remaining in the opening period at East Carolina on Jan. 19.

? UCF is 11-0 when leading at halftime in 2007-08. In the last two years, the squad is 27-4 when taking an advantage into intermission.

? Entering UCF's Conference USA season opener on Jan. 8 at Southern Miss, Mike O'Donnell was shooting 32.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from deep. O'Donnell has turned things around in C-USA play as he is now shooting 37.3 percent overall and 37.9 percent from deep.
? In league play, he is shooting 59.4 percent from the floor, good for second in C-USA. He paces the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (60.0), as he has made 12-of-20 tries against league opponents.
? O'Donnell is averaging 13.5 points in C-USA games and 11.0 points on the year.

? Known as UCF's defensive stopper, Dave Noel has showed a well-rounded game in 2007-08. The senior shooting guard is averaging 13.2 points, which ranks second on the squad.
? He is shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and 46.8 percent from 3-point range. In league games, he is averaging 14.3 points.
? 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.

? Averaging 1.8 steals per game, Mike O'Donnell currently leads Conference USA in the category. O'Donnell has 33 steals on the year. He paced the Knights in steals last season with 48.

? UCF is averaging 17.3 assists per game in Conference USA play in 2007-08, a mark that leads the league. In the win over UTEP on Wednesday, the Knights dished out a season-high 25 assists.

? Chip Cartwright had a well-rounded game in the win over UTEP. In 27 minutes off of the bench, he totaled 13 points, eight boards and seven assists.
? Cartwright is fifth in Conference USA in assists per game (4.2). He has totaled 76 assists on the year. Last season, in his first campaign with the Knights after transferring from Angelina College, he recorded 46 assists in 24 games.
? In C-USA play, the Houston native is averaging 8.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, which is notable because Cartwright is listed at 6-feet tall.

? Tony Davis has excelled as UCF's first player off of the bench this year. He is averaging a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game in 2007-08. ? The sophomore is fourth on the team in scoring at 7.4 points per game. The forward, who recorded a career-best 16 points in the win over UTEP on Wednesday, has registered 118 points in 16 contests this season.
? In 2006-07 as a freshman, Davis appeared in all 31 of UCF's games and totaled just 89 points for a 2.3 average.

Jermaine Taylor NOTABLES

? Jermaine Taylor ranks third in Conference USA in scoring, averaging 20.9 points per game. The junior has paced the Knights in points in 15 of UCF's 18 games this season and has scored at least 20 points on 13 occasions.

? Jermaine Taylor is averaging a league-high 24.3 points in Conference USA games. Against league foes, Taylor is shooting 56.7 percent overall and has made 19-of-21 (90.5 percent) attempts at the free-throw line.
? His percentage from the charity stripe ranks third in the league. Taylor is shooting 45.5 percent from 3-point range, which is good for eighth in C-USA.
? The junior has exhibited his all-around game in league play as well, averaging 6.8 boards, which ranks ninth. On the defensive end in conference games, he is averaging 2.3 steals, which ties him for third in the league.

? Following his 24-point performance against UTEP on Wednesday, Jermaine Taylor was named one of three "Big Men On Campus" during ESPN's College GameNight. Taylor made 9-of-12 field goals in the win over the Miners and hit three 3-pointers.

? Jermaine Taylor has enjoyed playing in hostile territory this season. The junior is averaging 22.8 points on the road in 2007-08. Taylor is shooting 52.5 percent from the field away from home.

? Not only does Jermaine Taylor rank 22nd nationally in scoring, he is tops among all players in Florida as well. Thirteen schools in Florida sponsor Division I basketball and Taylor's average is first among all players from those programs. Kentrel Gransberry (17.1) of USF is second in scoring in the Sunshine State.

30-30 CLUB
? Prior to this season, a Knight had not recorded 30 or more points in a game since the 2004-05 campaign. Jermaine Taylor has achieved the feat twice this season.
? Most recently, he dropped a career-best 32 points at East Carolina on Jan. 19. Facing Connecticut on Dec. 28, he led all players with a then career-high 30 points.

? Jermaine Taylor has garnered a pair of Conference USA Player of the Week honors this season. After leading the Knights to a 2-0 start in C-USA play, Taylor won the award on 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.
? 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.

? In 31 contests last season, Jermaine Taylor totaled 395 points. Through 18 games in 2007-08, he has already scored 376 points.
? Each season at UCF, Taylor has shown great improvement on the court. In 2006-07, he 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 is 11th in Conference USA, shooting 80.2 percent from the free-throw line. In UCF's win at East Carolina on Jan. 19, he went 8-of-8 from the charity stripe, with all of the attempts coming in the final seven minutes of the contest.
? Taylor's success at the free-throw line is impressive, considering he entered the year as a 64.4 percent shooter from the stripe. A year ago, he went 71.1 at the line. As a freshman in 2005-06, Taylor made just 17-of-56 (30.4 percent) of his attempts.

? In just his third campaign with the Knights, Jermaine Taylor already ranks ninth all-time at UCF with 127 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.