UCF Fastbreak - Feb. 18

Feb. 18, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Yesterday, head coach Kirk Speraw gave his team the day off. Following its game with Rice in Houston on Saturday afternoon, the squad arrived in Orlando early Sunday morning.

The Knights, especially seniors Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) and Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) and junior Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares), were happy to have a day without the practice.

The trio of players are logging major minutes for the Knights this season. O'Donnell ranks third in Conference USA, averaging 34.7 minutes. He has played 35 or more minutes on 14 occasions in 2007-08.

Taylor is third in C-USA play at 35.3 minutes per game. On the year, he is playing 33.6 minutes per contest. Noel is averaging 32.9 minutes.

Through 24 contests a year ago, no Knight had spent over 750 minutes on the court. That is not the case this season as O'Donnell (833), Taylor (807) and Noel (790) are well over that mark.

According to Noel, he does not usually keep track of his minutes played. He credits Speraw with getting his players prepared to play prior to the season.

"During the preseason, we had some of the hardest preseason workouts we have ever had. Coach told us to get ready for things like that. We didn't know that we were going to play this many minutes, but we did get into shape."

With just six regular-season contests remaining during his college career, Noel does not mind the extended minutes on the court. He played 51 minutes in UCF's triple-overtime victory over Tulsa on Jan. 12 and was happy to garner the extra playing time.

"I want to be out there as much as possible," he said.

Noel and the Knights will return to action on Wednesday, hosting East Carolina. Tip-off at the new UCF Arena is set for 7 p.m.

Prior to the contest, fans can receive autographs from members of the UCF baseball team, as well as members of the KnightMoves dance squad. For ticket information, call 407-UCF-1000.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel, log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out www.ucfphotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Notes: UCF has played five C-USA games at home this season and is averaging 89.0 points in the contests... The Knights are 8-0 all-time against East Carolina... UCF practiced on Monday afternoon at the new UCF Arena.