UCF Returns Home to Face East Carolina Wednesday

Feb. 19, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will play a contest at the new UCF Arena for the first time since Feb. 6 when it hosts East Carolina on Wednesday. The Conference USA game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.

The Knights (13-11, 6-4 C-USA) are currently fourth in the C-USA standings. UCF has six regular-season contests remaining.

UCF junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) is 14th nationally in scoring at 21.7 points per game. In conference games only, he is averaging a league-best 24.2 points.

Head coach Kirk Speraw's team will be seeking its 10th home victory of the season when it faces the Pirates (8-15, 2-8).

Prior to the contest, fans can receive autographs from members of the UCF baseball and KnightMoves dance teams inside the arena.

Tickets for the game are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the UCFAA Box Office at Bright House Networks Stadium. On Wednesday, tickets can be purchased at the new UCF Arena.

Students are admitted free with a valid UCF ID.

The contest will air on the UCF ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call and will be joined by reporter Scott Adams.

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 244-198 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 326-219 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
? Mack McCarthy (Virginia Tech, 1974) is serving as East Carolina's interim head coach. In 17 years as a head coach, he has a 317-192 mark.

? UCF owns an 8-0 record against the Pirates. Since the Knights joined Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 campaign, the program is 6-0 in contests with the Pirates. In Orlando, UCF has claimed three victories over East Carolina.
? On Jan. 19, Jermaine Taylor scored a game-high 32 points to lift the Knights to a 71-66 win over the host Pirates. Taylor shot 11-of-16 from the field and added six rebounds. Dave Noel chipped in with 14 points in the win. UCF made 15-of-16 free throws (93.8 percent) during the contest. The Knights went 14-for-14 at the line in the last seven minutes of the game.
? In the squad's last meeting in Orlando, Josh Peppers scored 25 points on March 3, 2007, to help UCF to a 77-64 victory over East Carolina. The contest served as the final game at the old UCF Arena.
? Since the start of the 2002-03 campaign, the Knights are 16-2 against schools from North Carolina. During that span, the Knights have wins over Campbell, East Carolina and Gardner-Webb.

? The Pirates have dropped three-straight contests, most recently a 72-62 game to visiting Southern Miss on Saturday. Darrell Jenkins paced East Carolina with 13 points against the Golden Eagles.
? On the year, Sam Hinnant is the team's top scorer (10.7). Gabe Blair is fifth in Conference USA, grabbing 7.1 rebounds per game. Jenkins is the conference's top assist man (6.3).
? The team paces C-USA in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting at a 38.4 percent clip from deep. The Pirates are averaging 67.3 points, while allowing 71.0.

? UCF will play at Marshall on Saturday. UCF leads the all-time series, 3-2. On Feb. 6, Jermaine Taylor scored a career-high 34 points to lift the host Knights to a 77-63 victory over Marshall.

? Jermaine Taylor totaled a game-high 22 points as the Knights posted a 60-53 win at Rice on Saturday. UCF shot 51.3 percent from the floor for the game, compared to 34.6 percent for the Owls.

? Since joining Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 campaign, the Knights have won 24 league contests, a mark that ranks fourth among the 12 C-USA programs during that span. Memphis has won 40 C-USA games in the last three years, followed by Houston (27) and UAB (25).
? UCF entered C-USA with five other programs and has won the most games among the new schools. Besides the Knights, UTEP (22) and Tulsa (20) 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. Rice, SMU, Tulsa and UTEP joined C-USA from the Western Athletic and Marshall came to the conference from the Mid-American. In 2006-07, UCF went 11-5 in C-USA play to finish second in the 12-team league.

? In the last six years, head coach Kirk Speraw's UCF program has enjoyed great success, winning 119 games. Dating back to the start of the 2002-03 campaign, the mark ranks second among the 11 programs in the state of Florida that have sponsored Division I basketball during that entire time.
? During that span, the Knights trail only Florida (156) and are ahead of Florida State (102) and Miami (88).

? After playing a pair of road games in which they averaged 62.0 points, the Knights are happy to have contest in Orlando. This season, UCF's offense has excelled at the new UCF Arena.
? The Knights are averaging 80.0 points per game at home, and are shooting 47.6 percent overall and 37.9 percent from 3-point range at their new facility. On the road, the squad is averaging 64.1 points, while shooting 41.5 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from deep.
? UCF has scored over 80 points at home on seven occasions this season. Away from home has been a different story as the team has eclipsed the 70-point mark just once.

? UCF has played five Conference USA home contests this year and has averaged 89.0 in the league games. The Knights are shooting 50.2 percent from the floor at the new UCF Arena against league foes and have dished out an average of 18.4 assists.

? The Knights have won nine home contests at the new UCF Arena this season. A win over East Carolina would continue an impressive streak for the program.
? In each of the last five seasons, the Knights have won at least 10 contests at home. In 2006-07, UCF went 15-1 in its final campaign at the old UCF Arena.

? Thanks to the new UCF Arena, the Knights now have one of the finest on-campus facilities in college basketball. The 10,000-seat venue provides UCF fans with comfortable seating, 16 luxury suites and numerous concession options.
? In the Knights' first campaign at the new arena, nine of the top-11 single-game attendance totals in program history have already been recorded. A school-record 7,097 fans watched UCF defeat Tulsa on Jan. 12.
? UCF has played 13 home games and a school-record 63,923 fans have attended the contests. A year ago, a then-school record 43,296 fans watched the Knights in 16 home contests at the old UCF Arena.

? This season, the Knights are 13-2 when leading at halftime. In the last two years, the squad is 30-6 when taking a lead into intermission.

? The Knights have excelled in the first half of games this season, outscoring their opponents by an average of 5.2 points before intermission. UCF is shooting 45.1 percent overall in the opening 20 minutes, while limiting its foes to just a 39.4 percent showing from the field.

? In league play, UCF is shooting 46.7 percent from the floor, which paces Conference USA. The Knights have shot over 50 percent in two of their league games this season.

? UCF has been efficient offensively in Conference USA play this season, averaging 75.9 points, which ranks third in the league. The team is averaging 73.4 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 as the Knights averaged 69.6 points in league games.

? 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 61.9 percent of the Knights' points. Taylor (21.7) paces the Knights in scoring, followed by Noel (12.8) and O'Donnell (11.0).
? The three players have combined to make 146 of UCF's 168 3-pointers this season.

? Mike O'Donnell needs just three points to eclipse the 900-point mark for his career. In three years at UCF, he has totaled 826 points. As a freshman at NC State, he recorded 72 points in 2003-04.

? Averaging 1.7 steals per game, Mike O'Donnell is currently second in Conference USA in the category. O'Donnell has 41 steals on the year. He paced the Knights in steals last season with 48.

? Kenrick Zondervan has shown continued improvement since arriving at UCF from Holland before the 2005-06 campaign. This year, the 6-foot-9 forward/center is averaging 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 22.9 minutes per contest.
? A year ago, he made 31 starts at center and averaged 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds. In Zondervan's rookie year (2005-06), he averaged just 0.3 points and 0.3 boards in limited action in 18 games.

Jermaine Taylor NOTABLES

? Jermaine Taylor is second in Conference USA and 14th nationally in scoring, averaging 21.7 points per game. The junior has paced the Knights in points in 20 of UCF's 24 contests this season and has scored at least 20 points on 17 occasions.

? In UCF's win over Marshall on Feb. 6, Taylor totaled a career-high 34 points and in the process, became the 14th 1,000-point scorer in program history. In 84 games with the Knights, Taylor has recorded 1,046 points.
? He became the second member of his family to join the 1,000-point club at UCF. His cousin, Darryl Davis, scored 1,540 points with the Knights from 1991-95. Davis played for head coach Kirk Speraw for two seasons.
? Taylor is 13th on the school's career points register. Paul Reed (1999-02) is 12th with 1,182 points.

? The Knights have played five Conference USA games in Orlando this season and Jermaine Taylor has averaged 27.2 points in the contests. Versus league foes at home, he is shooting 57.1 percent overall.

? This season, Taylor has scored 521 points. He is the first Knight to score over 500 points in a campaign since the 2003-04 season, when Dexter Lyons recorded 567 points. A year ago, Josh Peppers was the Knights' leading scorer. In 31 games, he totaled 442 points for a 14.3 average.

? Prior to this year, a UCF player had not scored at least 30 points in a game since the 2004-05 campaign. Taylor has achieved the feat on four occasions this season. He scored over 30 points in consecutive games (vs. Houston - Feb. 2; vs. Marshall - Feb. 6), becoming the first Knight to log back-to-back 30-point performances since the school moved to Division I in 1984. He totaled 31 points against Houston and recorded a career-best 34 points versus Marshall.
? He is the first UCF player to have more than three 30-point performances since the school joined the Division I ranks. Ken Leeks had the previous high with three 30-point games in 1991-92.

? Taylor is averaging 24.2 points in Conference USA games. Against league foes, Taylor is shooting 52.7 percent overall and 81.8 percent at the free-throw line.
? His field-goal percentage ranks seventh in C-USA and his free-throw percentage is 10th.
? The junior has exhibited his all-around game in league play as well, averaging 5.1 boards, which ranks 19th. On the defensive end in conference games, he is averaging 1.5 steals, good for 10th in the league.

? Not only does Taylor rank 14th 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 (17.2) of USF is second in scoring in the Sunshine State.

? Taylor is eighth all-time at UCF with 140 3-pointers. This season, he has connected on 60 triples. His rise on the career 3-pointers chart is impressive, as he hit just 17 treys as a rookie in 2005-06.