Knights Travel to Marshall for C-USA Clash

Feb. 22, 2008

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Coming off of one of the best offensive performances in school history, the UCF men's basketball team will return to action on Saturday for a Conference USA contest at Marshall. Tip-off at the Cam Henderson Center is set for 2 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Knights (14-11, 7-4) rolled to a 110-75 home win over East Carolina. The contest marked the first time since 1991 that UCF scored 110 or more points.

Head coach Kirk Speraw's Knights are fourth in the C-USA standings. His squad is led by junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares). He ranks 14th nationally in scoring at 21.8 points per game.

UCF has five regular-season contests remaining in 2007-08.

Marshall is 14-11 overall and 6-6 in league play.

The contest will be broadcast on the UCF ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando with Marc Daniels on the call. 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 245-198 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 327-219 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
? Marshall's Donnie Jones (Pikeville, 1988) is in his first season as a head coach.

? UCF has a 3-2 edge in the all-time series with the Thundering Herd and has won three-straight contests. At Marshall, the series is tied, 1-1. A year ago, the visiting Knights posted a 78-71 victory at Marshall behind 20 points and four treys from Mike O'Donnell and 17 points and six boards from Dave Noel.
? This season, the teams met Feb. 6 in Orlando and Jermaine Taylor scored a career-high 34 points to lift UCF to a 77-63 victory. He made 14-of-23 shots from the field. O'Donnell added 13 points in the win.
? In five career contests against Marshall, Taylor has averaged 15.2 points and O'Donnell has averaged 12.2 points and 4.2 assists. He has connected on 13 3-pointers versus the Thundering Herd.

? The Thundering Herd, who have won three of their last four contests, are 12-3 at home this season. A year ago, the team won 13 total games, but already has 14 victories under first-year head coach Donnie Jones.
? Despite having five players finish with double-figures in scoring, Marshall fell 79-76 to visiting UTEP on Wednesday. Tyler Wilkerson paced the hosts with 18 points.
? Mark Dorris paces the Thundering Herd in scoring at 13.6 points per game, followed by Markel Humphrey (13.2). In Conference USA play, Wilkerson is averaging 6.5 rebounds.

? On Wednesday, the Knights will host Tulane at the new UCF Arena. The all-time series is tied, 2-2, and the squads will be meeting for just the second time in Orlando.

? Jermaine Taylor totaled a game-high 23 points and Mike O'Donnell connected on six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points as the Knights eased past visiting East Carolina, 110-75, on Wednesday. UCF shot 61.2 percent overall for the game and 51.7 percent (15-of-29) from 3-point range.
? Five Knights finished with double-digits in points. UCF's bench accounted for 40 points as a pair of the team's reserves - Chip Cartwright and Mike Battle - both scored 10 points in the winning effort.

? UCF's Andre Thornton played at Mitchell High School in Memphis with Marshall guard Brandon Powell. Powell played at Florida last year and is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.
? The contest will feature a pair of players who hail from Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Jean Michel Yotio of UCF and Marshall's Jean Francois Bro Grebe. When the teams met on Feb. 6 in Orlando, Yotio totaled four points and two assists in 19 minutes.

? Since joining Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 campaign, the Knights have won 25 league contests, a mark that ranks fourth among the 12 C-USA programs during that span. Memphis has won 41 C-USA games in the last three years, followed by Houston (27) and UAB (26).
? UCF entered C-USA with five other programs and has won the most games among the new schools. Besides the Knights, UTEP (23) and Tulsa (21) 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, 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 three years since UCF joined Conference USA with five other programs, the Knights enjoyed great success against the other new schools. The Knights are a combined 14-6 against Marshall, Rice, SMU, Tulsa and UTEP. UCF has a losing record against just one of the other programs (SMU; 1-2).

? The Knights are averaging 79.0 points in Conference USA play, which is tied with Memphis for tops in the league. UCF is averaging 74.9 points on the season.
? The Knights have scored over 90 points in three 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's offensive performance against East Carolina was impressive on many fronts. The 110 points scored were the third-most since the Knights joined the Division I ranks in 1984 and the most since the 1991-92 squad recorded 113 against Long Island.
? The 110 points were the fourth-most scored all-time in a Conference USA regular season game. The Knights now have the fourth and fifth-highest (109 vs. UTEP on Jan. 23) scoring performances in league history.
? Prior to this season, UCF had not registered two 100-point games in the same campaign since 1995-96.
? The 35-point margin of victory was the most for the Knights in a league game since they joined C-USA in 2005.
? UCF's 15 made 3-pointers ranked second on the school's single-game register.

? Wearing its black road jerseys on Feb. 16 at Rice, UCF scored 60 points in a win over the Owls. The Knights fared better on Wednesday at home against Marshall donning their white jerseys. UCF scored 60 points in the second half, matching its output for the entire game at Rice.

? Through 11 Conference USA contests in 2006-07, UCF was 7-4 in the league standings. After 11 games this year, the Knights have the same conference record.

? When the Knights travel to West Virginia to face Marshall, they will be hoping that their offensive success from home makes the trip. In league play, UCF is averaging 92.5 points in six Conference USA games at the new UCF Arena.
? Against league foes in Orlando, the Knights are shooting 52.2 percent overall and 41.9 percent from 3-point range while averaging 19.5 assists.

? The Knights pace Conference USA in both field goal and 3-point field goal percentage in league games. The squad is shooting 48.2 percent from the floor and 37.9 percent from deep.

? This season, the Knights are 14-2 when leading at halftime. In the last two years, the squad is 31-6 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 5.6 points before intermission. UCF is shooting 45.7 percent overall in the opening 20 minutes, while limiting its foes to just a 39.4 percent showing from the field.
? UCF has a +7.4 scoring margin in the first half of its Conference USA games.

? In Conference USA contests only, UCF paces the league in assists per game (16.1). The Knights recorded 25 assists in home victories over UTEP and East Carolina.
? On the year, the squad is averaging 15.4 assists. Three Knights have registered at least 70 assists in 2007-08, led by Chip Cartwright with 93. He is ninth in the league in assists per game (3.9).

? In the win over East Carolina on Wednesday, UCF totaled 25 assists and just 11 turnovers. Head coach Kirk Speraw used three point guards in the contest (Mike O'Donnell, Chip Cartwright, Taylor Young) and the trio combined for 12 assists and zero turnovers.
? This season in league play, the Knights are second in Conference USA in assist/turnover ratio (1.20), trailing only top-ranked Memphis (1.33).

? After scoring just two points in the victory at Rice on Feb. 16, Mike O'Donnell totaled 22 points in the win over East Carolina on Wednesday. He scored 17 points before intermission and hit six triples against the Pirates.
? The contest marked the fourth time this season and the sixth time in his career at UCF that O'Donnell nailed six of more 3-pointers.
? In the game against the Pirates, O'Donnell eclipsed the 900-point mark for his entire career. In three years at UCF, he has totaled 848 points. As a freshman at NC State, he recorded 72 points in 2003-04.

? In the win over East Carolina on Wednesday, Mike O'Donnell moved to second on UCF's career 3-pointers list. He has connected on 185 treys in three years with the Knights. Jason Thornton (1998-02) is the school's all-time leader in the category with 220 3-pointers. O'Donnell's former teammate Josh Peppers (2003-07) is third with 180 triples.
? This season, 65 of O'Donnell's 90 (72.2 percent) made field goals have come from 3-point range.

? In UCF's last three games, Dave Noel averaged 13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists. He dished out seven assists in the victory over East Carolina on Wednesday. The senior connected on a career high three triples against the Pirates.

? With Stanley Billings out of the lineup due to injury in the Knights' last seven games, Kenrick Zondervan and Jean Michel Yotio have shared time at center. The pair has combined to average 9.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 50.9 percent from the floor.

Jermaine Taylor NOTABLES

? Jermaine Taylor is second in Conference USA and 14th nationally in scoring, averaging 21.8 points per game. The junior has paced the Knights in points in 21 of UCF's 25 contests this season and has scored at least 20 points on 18 occasions.

? Taylor is averaging a league-best 24.1 points in Conference USA games. Against league foes, he is shooting 53.9 percent overall and 81.4 percent at the free-throw line. He has scored 20 or more points in eight of UCF's 12 conference tilts.

? If the season ended today, Taylor's scoring average in Conference USA games would rank second in league history. Last season, Rice's Morris Almond also averaged 24.1 points in league contests.
? Almond established a league record in 2005-06, averaging 25.1 points against C-USA teams.

? In just his third season in Orlando, Taylor ranks 13th all-time at UCF with 1,069 points. On Feb. 6 against Marshall, he totaled a career-high 34 points and in the process, became just the 14th 1,000-point scorer in program history.
? 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. Paul Reed (1999-02) is 12th at UCF with 1,182 points.

? This season, Taylor has scored 544 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.
? Taylor is on pace to become the top single-season scorer since UCF joined the Division I ranks in 1984. Mark Jones currently holds the distinction, recording 581 points in 1997-98.

? In the last five games, Jermaine Taylor averaged 24.6 points while shooting 55.3 percent from the floor. He totaled at least 22 points in four of those contests.

? Despite standing 6-foot-4, Taylor is second on the team in rebounds per game (4.8). Against Conference USA opponents, he is averaging 5.3 boards, which ranks 16th in the league.