Knights to Host Flagler for Exhibition Contest Tuesday

Nov. 10, 2008

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - On Tuesday, the UCF men's basketball team will play its lone exhibition game before starting the regular season, hosting Flagler at 7 p.m. at the UCF Arena. Admission for the preseason contest is free.

The game will serve as the Knights' final tuneup before opening the regular season on Sunday at home against North Carolina A&T.

Head coach Kirk Speraw's squad returns six letterwinners and two starters from last season's squad. The team is led by Jermaine Taylor. The senior guard enters the campaign as the nation's 10th-leading returning scorer after averaging 20.8 points per game a year ago.

Audio and video of the game will be available on UCFAthletics.com. Marc Daniels will provide play-by-play and former UCF point guard Mike O'Donnell will be making his debut as a color commentator. Live statistics will also be available on the web site.

The Knights are scheduled to play 16 regular-season contests at the UCF Arena this year. Season tickets are currently available. To order your season tickets today, and to learn more about the Fastbreak Club, contact the UCF ticket sales office at (407) UCF-1000.

About Flagler
? Coming off a 20-7 season in 2007-08, Flagler returns three players who averaged over 10 points - John Pietkiewicz (15.1), Ben De La Cruz (12.9) and D.J. Ferguson (10.3). Four starters are back for the Saints, who averaged 83.0 points per game a year ago. Flagler competes as an Independent at the Division II level. The squad opened its year with an 85-75 exhibition victory over the Sawyer Brown Stars in Saint Augustine on Nov. 3. Last season, the Saints played at Florida for an exhibition contest, falling 97-51 to the defending national champion Gators.

Series Information
? All-time, UCF and the Saints have met on 10 occasions during the regular season. The last official meeting between the two schools came on Dec. 10, 1999, and the host Knights claimed a 109-86 victory.

Welcome Back
? The 2008-09 campaign is serving as the 40th campaign of basketball at UCF. The Knights will get the anniversary season underway with one of the best players in school history in attendance. Flagler head coach Bo Clark attended UCF in the late 1970s. The school's all-time leading scorer with 2,886 points, Clark set 13 program records during his time with the Knights. He was a three-time Division II All-America First Team selection and was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. Clark played at UCF for his father, Torchy.

Exhibit A
? The contest with Flagler will serve as the Knights' lone exhibition game before opening the 2008-09 campaign Sunday against North Carolina A&T at the UCF Arena. NCAA rules allow teams to play a maximum of two exhibition contests per year. In each of the last two campaigns, the Knights have played two preseason contests. In 2007-08, the squad posted an 86-73 win over visiting Saint Leo and also defeated Florida Southern, 83-57, at home.

Follow the Leader
? Jermaine Taylor enters his senior season as the nation's 10th-leading returning scorer. An All-Conference USA Preseason Team selection, the swingman averaged 20.8 points per game a year ago, the 23rd-highest mark in the country. He paced the Knights in scoring in 24 of the team's 31 games and totaled a UCF Division I single-season record 646 points. Taylor scored over 30 points on four occasions and begins the campaign 13th all-time at UCF in career scoring (1,167).

Youth Movement
? With seven true freshmen and 11 total underclassmen, the Knights have one of the youngest squads in the country this season. With an average age of 19.60, UCF is the fifth-greenest team in the nation. Denver (18.92) has the youngest squad, followed by Presbyterian (19.27), Saint Peter's (19.29) and Saint Louis (19.42). Ironically, UCF had one of the oldest squads in 2007-08. The Knights had five seniors, including 29-year old Stanley Billings, on the roster.

New Look
? Head coach Kirk Speraw's squad returns just two starters and six letterwinners from a year ago. Jermaine Taylor and Kenrick Zondervan are the two starters back from last season. The pair is joined by returning letterwinners Tony Davis, Drew Speraw, Jean Michel Yotio and Taylor Young. Forty-seven percent of the squad's scoring from 2007-08 returns this year.

Injured Reserve
? UCF will begin the campaign without its top rebounder and second-leading returning scorer as Tony Davis is out four to six weeks with an injury. On Nov. 6, head coach Kirk Speraw announced that the junior forward suffered a knee injury in practice. The 6-foot-7 Davis appeared in 29 contests last season, making nine starts. He averaged 6.4 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds. The Sarasota native also paced the team with 36 blocked shots. Davis was expected to begin the year as the team's starting power forward.

Year Two
? The exhibition contest with Flagler will begin year two for the Knights at the UCF Arena. The program opened the state-of-the-art facility last November and enjoyed an exciting campaign at the new building. The Knights won 12 contests at home last season and also established several program attendance marks. A school-record 78,253 fans attended 16 home games at the venue.

Number 16
? The 2008-09 campaign is serving as head coach Kirk Speraw's 16th season at UCF. One of the longest-tenured coaches in the country, Speraw began his tenure at UCF in 1993-94. That year, the school's enrollment was listed at 23,000. Today, the university is one of the largest in the nation with an enrollment of 50,000. Speraw is one of just 15 coaches in the country who have spent at least 15 years at their current school.

Looking for More Success
? The Knights will be looking for more success in 2008-09. Dating back to the start of the 2002-03 season, UCF has won 122 games. That mark ranks 49th nationally during that span. Since joining Conference USA prior the 2005-06 campaign, the Knights have averaged 17 victories per year.