UCF Fastbreak - March 2

March 2, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The Knights' first senior night inside the new UCF Arena ended on a high note as UCF recorded a 68-60 win over Rice on Saturday evening. After recognizing just three seniors a year ago in the team's home finale, UCF honored a large senior class yesterday.

Prior to the contest, guards Mike Battle (Waldorf, Md./Southern Maryland Christian), Chip Cartwright (Houston, Texas/Phillis Wheatley), Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) and Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) and center Stanley Billings (Orlando, Fla.) were all acknowledged before their final home contest.

Noel said that prior to the game, he was excited, but also sad that he would be playing in front of UCF's fans at home for the final time.

"I never thought it was going to get here," he said of senior night. "I am happy I got to play here. I am happy because I got to witness this because UCF is one the rise."

Both Noel and O'Donnell spent four years with the program after transferring to UCF in 2004 from UNC-Wilmington and NC State, respectively. When they arrived in Orlando, the Knights were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference and played at the old UCF Arena.

After the win over Rice, UCF is 16-12 overall and 9-5 in Conference USA, good for fourth in the league. On Wednesday, the Knights will play at Houston. The Cougars are 10-4 in C-USA play and are currently third in the standings.

Earlier this week, UCF head coach Kirk Speraw told reporters how the five seniors were instrumental in helping the Knights make the successful transition from the A-Sun to C-USA. After Saturday's game, he again praised the players.

"They've meant an awful lot to our program and to our school. They have been tremendous representatives of our university and have handled themselves in a very fine way. It was good that they went out on a good win."

After the seniors were introduced pregame and before the new UCF Arena video staff aired a clip showing highlights on the scoreboard, O'Donnell briefly spoke to the crowd and thanked them for providing the Knights with support at home.

"I thought it was appropriate to have our captain address the crowd," said Speraw. "That is the first time we have kind of done that. I wanted to let Mike address the crowd because the [crowds] and the support that they have given us has been outstanding. He did a nice job."

Tip-off for the contest at Houston is set for 8 p.m. EST. The game will be aired on the UCF ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando.

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: With the team's home schedule now completed, the Knights averaged 81.1 points at the new UCF Arena. Against C-USA foes, the squad averaged 87.9 points in Orlando... After facing Houston, the Knights will play at Tulsa on Saturday to conclude the regular season... UCF did not practice on Sunday.