Knights Continue C-USA Homestand On Saturday Against Houston

Feb. 1, 2008

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will play the second contest of a three-game homestand on Saturday, hosting Houston at the new UCF Arena. The Conference USA contest is slated to start at 7 p.m.

The game will follow a UCF women's contest, which begins at 5 p.m.

In C-USA play, the Knights (11-9, 4-2) are averaging a league-high 79.5 points. The squad is 8-3 at home this year in its first campaign at the new UCF Arena.

UCF junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) is first in C-USA league play, averaging 23.7 points. He has paced the Knights in scoring 17 times in 2007-08.

Houston (15-4, 4-1) is currently receiving votes in both national top-25 polls.

Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the UCF Ticket Office at Bright House Networks Stadium. On gameday, tickets can be purchased at the new UCF Arena. Students are admitted free to all home games with a valid UCF ID.

For more ticket information, call 407-UCF-1000.

UCF-Houston will be broadcast on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will handle the play-by-play duties and will be joined by former UCF player Josh Bodden and reporter Scott Adams.

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 242-196 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 324-217 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
? Tom Penders (Connecticut, 1967) is 72-43 in his fourth year at Houston. In 34 years as a head coach, he is 599-404.

? The Cougars have a 3-2 edge in the all-time series and each team has won a contest in Orlando.
? A year ago in the matchup in Orlando, the Knights clinched second place in Conference USA with a 75-72 overtime win over the Cougars on Feb. 28, 2007. Jermaine Taylor paced the Knights with 20 points off of the bench in the win.
? The Knights feature one player from Texas, Houston's Chip Cartwright. The backup point guard is averaging a team-high 4.2 assists.

? The Cougars enter Saturday's contest at UCF receiving votes in both national polls. Houston has one of Conference USA's best offenses, averaging 78.5 points per game, which ranks second in the league.
? On Wednesday, host Houston came up just short against No. 1 Memphis, falling 89-77 despite 23 points from Dion Dowell. Robert McKiver added 20 points and made all 11 of his free-throw attempts.
? McKiver is fourth in C-USA in points per game (19.8). He is among the national leaders in 3-point field goals per game, connecting on 3.7 an outing. Dowell is averaging 12.9 points and 7.5 boards per game.

? UCF concludes a three-game homestand on Wednesday, hosting Marshall. The all-time series is tied 2-2 as the Knights won both matchups a year ago.
? The squads last met on Feb. 10, 2007 in Orlando and the hosts took a 75-58 victory. Mike O'Donnell and Jermaine Taylor each scored 17 points in the win.
? In four career contests against the Thundering Herd, O'Donnell is averaging 12.5 points and 4.8 assists. He has drained 11 3-pointers versus Marshall.

? UCF's comeback attempt against UAB fell short on Wednesday as the visiting Blazers held on for an 88-81 win at the new UCF Arena. The Knights trailed by as many as 24 points in the second half, but hit seven 3-pointers after intermission to get within single-digits with under a minute to play, but the Blazers hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute.
? Jermaine Taylor was one of four UCF players who recorded double-figures in scoring, finishing with 19 points.

? Since joining Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 campaign, the Knights have won 22 league contests, a mark that ranks fourth among the 12 C-USA programs during that span. Memphis has won 35 C-USA games in the last three years, followed by Houston and UAB, who both have 23 wins.
? UCF entered C-USA with five other programs. Besides the Knights, UTEP (21) 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.

? Head coach Kirk Speraw and members of UCF's staff will be wearing sneakers with their usual game attire on Saturday for a good cause. As part of its Coaches vs. Cancer program, the National Association of Basketball Coaches is urging its members to wear sneakers during games this weekend to help raise awareness about the disease.

? UCF's nine losses this year have come by an average of 5.9 points. Four of the losses were by three points or less and three defeats have come in overtime.
? The Knights fell to No. 18 Kansas State and traditional power Connecticut by a combined five points.

? UCF boasts Conference USA's best offense in league games. The Knights are averaging a conference-best 79.5 points in C-USA contests. The team is averaging 74.0 points on the season.
? The Knights have scored over 90 points in two league games in 2007-08. A year ago, the squad did not eclipse the 80-point mark in C-USA play.
? Against league foes, UCF is shooting 48.4 percent overall, which ranks first in the conference. The team also paces C-USA in assists per game (16.0) in conference contests.

? In the Knights' first campaign at the new UCF Arena, eight of the top-10 single-game attendance totals in program history have already been recorded. A school record 7,097 fans watched UCF defeat Tulsa on Jan. 12.
? On Wednesday, 4,865 fans saw the Knights host UAB. That mark was good for sixth on the school's single-game attendance register. ? UCF has played 11 home games and a school-record 53,753 fans have attended the contests for an average of 4,887. A year ago, a then-school record 43,296 fans watched the Knights in 16 home contests at the old UCF Arena.
? Among the 13 schools in Florida that sponsor Division I basketball, UCF's attendance average of 4,887 ranks third behind only Florida (11,004) and Florida State (7,944). The Knights are drawing more fans than USF of the BIG EAST (4,718) and Miami of the ACC (3,536).

? Off to an 8-3 start in its first campaign at the new UCF Arena, UCF is enjoying playing at home in 2007-08. The Knights are averaging 80.2 points in Orlando, compared to 64.8 on the road.
? Inside the new UCF Arena, the Knights are shooting 48.3 percent overall. In away games, the team is shooting at a 40.8 percent clip.

? In its first campaign at the new UCF Arena, UCF is 8-3 at home this season. A year ago, the squad won a school-record 15 home games as the team played its final year at the old UCF Arena.
? Since the start of the 2003-04 campaign, the Knights are 57-13 in Orlando. In two seasons in Conference USA, UCF is 13-5 in league contests at home.

? UCF is 11-1 when leading at halftime in 2007-08. In the last two years, the squad is 28-5 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 61.1 percent of the Knights' points. Taylor (21.1) paces the Knights in scoring, followed by Noel (13.3) and O'Donnell (11.0).
? The three players have combined to make 128 of UCF's 148 3-pointers this season.

? With starter Stanley Billings out of the lineup with an injury, a pair of players excelled in the post for the Knights against UAB on Wednesday. Kenrick Zondervan and Jean Michel Yotio combined for 18 points against the Blazers.
? Zondervan started at center and totaled 10 points in 22 minutes on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor. In 14 minutes off of the bench, Yotio recorded eight points and three rebounds, all on the offensive end. He also added a pair of steals.

? In addition to being one of the top defensive players in Conference USA, Dave Noel has exhibited a well-rounded offensive game this season as well. The senior guard is second on UCF in scoring at 13.3 points per game. In league contests, he is averaging 14.2 points.
? He is ninth in C-USA in field-goal percentage (51.8) and ranks second in 3-point field-goal percentage, making 47.2 of his attempts from deep.
? Noel has recorded double-figures in points in four-consecutive games. He has shown great improvement offensively while with the Knights. ? 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.

? In his third campaign with the Knights, Dave Noel ranks third in program history in free-throw percentage, shooting at an 83.0 percent clip. Cleveland Jackson (1977-79) is the school's leader in the category at 83.8 percent.
? This year, Noel is sixth in Conference USA, shooting 82.5 percent from the line.

? Averaging 1.9 steals per game, Mike O'Donnell is currently second in Conference USA in the category. O'Donnell has 38 steals on the year. He paced the Knights in steals last season with 48.

? A look at UCF's statistics shows that Kenrick Zondervan has benefited from the Knights' move into the new UCF Arena. At home this season, the post player is averaging 6.9 points while shooting 58.5 percent from the floor.
? On the road, Zondervan is averaging 1.5 points on 19.0 percent shooting.

Jermaine Taylor NOTABLES

? Jermaine Taylor is second in Conference USA and 19th nationally in scoring, averaging 21.1 points per game. The junior has paced the Knights in points in 17 of UCF's 20 games this season and has scored at least 20 points on 14 occasions.

? Jermaine Taylor is averaging a league-high 23.7 points in Conference USA games. Against league foes, Taylor is shooting 52.7 percent overall, 41.5 percent from deep and 84.4 at the free-throw line.
? His field-goal percentage ranks ninth in C-USA, while his 3-point field-goal percentage is 11th and his free-throw percentage is seventh.
? The junior has exhibited his all-around game in league play as well, averaging 5.8 boards, which ranks 14th. On the defensive end in conference games, he is averaging 1.8 steals, which ties him for fifth in the league.

? Over the last five games, Jermaine Taylor has averaged 25.8 points. During the span, he has shot 55.7 percent from deep and has led the Knights in scoring each game.

? Jermaine Taylor is nearing the 1,000-point mark for his career. In 80 games with the Knights, Taylor has recorded 946 points.
? He is on pace to become the 13th 1,000-point scorer in school history. A year ago as a senior, Josh Peppers achieved the feat. The small forward finished his career with 1,376 points.

? Not only does Jermaine Taylor rank 19th 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 (17.0) of USF is second in scoring in the Sunshine State.

? Following his 24-point performance in just 22 minutes against UTEP on Jan. 23, 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.

? In 31 contests last season, Jermaine Taylor totaled 395 points. Through 20 games in 2007-08, he has already scored 421 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 79.3 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.
? His success at the free-throw line is impressive, considering he entered the year as a 64.4 percent shooter. In 2005-06, he went 71.1 at the line. As a freshman, Taylor made just 17-of-56 (30.4 percent) of his attempts.

? In just his third campaign with the Knights, Jermaine Taylor already ranks eighth all-time at UCF with 134 career 3-pointers. Ironically, his first cousin, Darryl Davis, is ninth 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.