After Big Win, Knights Return to Action Friday

Dec. 11, 2008

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After posting an impressive victory over USF last week, the UCF men's basketball team will return to action Friday, hosting Florida Tech. Tip-off at the UCF Arena is slated for 7 p.m.

Last Saturday, the Knights (4-3) defeated visiting USF for the first time since 1994 behind 30 points from senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.). On the year, Taylor is averaging a team-high 19.9 points.

Florida Tech enters the contest 6-1 in 2008-09.

Tickets for the game are available at Ticketmaster.com and (407) 839-3900. The UCF Arena box office will also be open Friday before the contest. Students are admitted free to all UCF home games with a valid school ID.

A UCF Basketball Outback Steakhouse Four-Pack is currently available for only $50 by calling the UCF ticket sales office at (407) UCF-1000. The four-pack offers the best seat available at the UCF Arena for the Knights' Jan. 10 contest with national power Memphis. The package also includes tickets to UCF's Conference USA games with SMU (Jan. 28), Houston (Feb. 4) and East Carolina (March 7).

UCF-Florida Tech will be aired live on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will handle the play-by-play duties and will be joined by former UCF guard Mike O'Donnell. Pregame coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. Live video and statistics will be available at UCFAthletics.com.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

About Florida Tech
? The Panthers began the year 6-0, but dropped their last contest, falling 96-73 to visiting Lynn Saturday. Florida Tech is averaging 88.0 points per contest and is shooting 48.5 percent overall in 2008-09. Freshman Derek Helleman is the team's top player, averaging 23.9 points and 9.9 boards. He is shooting 70.8 percent from the floor.

Series Information
? UCF leads the all-time series the Panthers, 23-2. The teams will be meeting for just the second time since 1988. In Orlando, UCF is 15-1 versus Florida Tech. The programs were Sunshine State Conference foes from 1981-84.
? On Nov. 24, 2006, the Knights cruised to an 81-37 win over Florida Tech at the old UCF Arena. The 37 points scored by the Panthers were the third-lowest total by an opponent in UCF history. Jermaine Taylor came off of the bench to lead UCF in scoring with 15 points. Josh Peppers added 12 points in the win as the hosts shot 50.0 percent overall and made 10-of-20 3-point field goal attempts.

Last Time Out
? Behind 30 points from Jermaine Taylor, UCF snapped a nine-game losing streak to USF, recording a 71-63 victory over the Bulls Saturday at the UCF Arena. Taylor was one of three players to finish with double-digits in scoring for the Knights, joining Tony Davis (17) and Kenrick Zondervan (11). UCF limited the Bulls to just three points in the final four minutes of the contest.

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will head north to face Florida at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena next Saturday. The Gators are one of two Southeastern Conference teams on UCF's schedule this year, as the squad faced host Ole Miss on Nov. 26. Florida has an 8-0 edge in the all-time series. The programs last met in December 2005 in Gainesville.

In-State Success
? The Knights have won 12-consecutive home games against in-state opponents. UCF's last loss in Orlando to a school from Florida came on Jan. 20, 2005 against Florida Atlantic.

Home Happiness
? With their win over USF Saturday, the Knights continued their domination at the UCF Arena. Since the facility opened last fall, UCF is 14-4 at home. The Knights have won six-consecutive contests at the venue.

Home Cooking
? Last season, UCF excelled offensively at home, averaging 81.1 points at the UCF Arena, compared to 63.6 on the road. The Knights are continuing that trend this year. The squad is averaging 76.0 points and shooting 47.5 percent overall at home. Away from Orlando, UCF is averaging 60.2 points while shooting 36.0 percent from the field.

Crowded House
? On Saturday, the Knights defeated USF in front of a boisterous crowd of 6,695 fans at the UCF Arena. The attendance ranked second all-time in school history. Since the Knights moved into the UCF Arena last fall, nine of the top-10 crowds in program history have been recorded. The crowd for the USF game was just 403 fans shy of the school single-game record, which was set on Jan. 12, 2007 versus Tulsa (7,097).
? Fans flocked to the UCF Arena during the Knights' inaugural campaign at the venue a year ago. A school record for attendance was established as 78,253 fans attended 16 home contests for an average of 4,891 per game.

A Beast of a Victory
? UCF's win over USF gave the program its first victory against a BIG EAST Conference program. The Knights entered the game with the Bulls 0-10 all-time against BIG EAST teams. Last season, UCF played league members Connecticut and Villanova.

Turn of Events
? The Knights forced 21 turnovers in the win over USF, including 15 in the second half. UCF scored 24 points off of the turnovers. On the year, the Knights are forcing 17.1 turnovers per game.

Home Stretch
? After beginning the season with five of their first six games away from Orlando, the Knights will be spending plenty of time at home in December and early January. Seven of the team's next eight games are at the UCF Arena, with the only non-home contest coming on Dec. 20 against Florida in Jacksonville.

Senior Moment
? Kenrick Zondervan entered UCF's game with USF averaging only 2.3 points per game. The senior had his best contest of the campaign against the Bulls, totaling 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. Zondervan also played a season-high 27 minutes in the win.

The Daily Dish
? After coming off the bench in both of UCF's games at the Cancun Classic, A.J. Rompza returned to the starting lineup against USF and did not disappoint. The freshman dished out a season-high eight assists and had just three turnovers in the win over the Bulls. On the year, the Chicago native is averaging a team-high 3.8 assists per game.

Fresh Starts
? Through seven games this season, Kirk Speraw has already used four different starting lineups. Eight different Knights have already logged at least one start.

Jermaine Taylor Notes

In the Lead
? One of the nation's premier offensive players, Jermaine Taylor has led the Knights in scoring in six of the team's seven games in 2008-09. He is averaging 19.9 points per game. A year ago, he led the team in points in 23 of 31 contests. He has recorded 139 points this season. Through seven games in 2007-08, Taylor totaled 122 points.

To the Top
? Taylor began the campaign 13th all-time at UCF in career scoring. After seven games, he has moved to eighth on the list with 1,306 points. Former teammate Josh Peppers is seventh with 1,376 points. Taylor also ranks fifth on the program's Division I scoring register.

Home Hero
? In two contests at the UCF Arena this season, Taylor is averaging 29.0 points while shooting 56.1 percent overall and 41.7 percent from 3-point range. In Orlando, he has connected on 87.5 percent of his free-throw attempts. The senior began the campaign with 28 points on Nov. 16 in the Knights' win over North Carolina A&T. On Saturday, he helped UCF top cross-state foe USF for the first time since 1994, recording 30 points.

Numbers Game
? When Taylor dropped 30 points against USF Saturday, it served as the fifth 30-point contest of his career. Last season, he registered at least 30 points four times. He became the first Knight to post more than three 30-point performances in a season since the school joined the Division I ranks in 1984-85.

All-Around Success
? This season, Taylor is exhibiting his all-around game. In addition to leading the team in scoring, he has been UCF's top rebounder in 2008-09, grabbing 6.3 boards per contest. Taylor also ranks first on the team in blocks with six and is third with 17 assists.