UCF to Open Homestand Wednesday Against Southern Miss

Jan. 20, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will open a three-game homestand Wednesday, hosting Southern Miss for a key Conference USA contest. Tip-off at the UCF Arena is slated for 7 p.m.

The Knights (11-6, 1-2 C-USA) are 8-1 at home this year. The squad will be playing at home for the first time since Jan. 10, when a school record 9,825 fans watched UCF face Memphis.

Senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.) enters the game 10th nationally in scoring at 23.1 points per game.

The Golden Eagles (11-5, 2-1) are currently tied for second in the C-USA standings.

Tickets for the game are available at Ticketmaster.com. On Wednesday, the UCF Arena box office will be open before the contest. UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID.

The contest will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will provide the call from the UCF Arena. 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 Southern Miss
? The Golden Eagles have won seven of their last eight contests. On Saturday, Courtney Beasley had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds as host Southern Miss defeated Houston, 83-76. The Golden Eagles made 20 free throws in the final five minutes of the game.
? Jeremy Wise is the team's top scorer at 17.4 points per game. Southern Miss ranks second in Conference USA in scoring defense, limiting its foes to only 60.9 points an outing.

Series Information
? The all-time series with Southern Miss is tied, 2-2. A year ago, UCF opened Conference USA play on Jan. 8 with a 52-41 win against the host Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss returned the favor in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Championship, posting a 68-62 win over the Knights at the FedEx Forum in Memphis.
? In two contests against Southern Miss last year, Jermaine Taylor averaged 19.0 points and 8.5 rebounds. In the C-USA Championship matchup, he totaled 25 points.
? UCF and Southern Miss have met just once in Orlando and the hosts claimed a 59-56 win on Feb. 21, 2007, at the old UCF Arena. Mike O'Donnell scored 13 of his game-high 16 points in the second half as the Knights won their 20th game of the year. He hit four 3-pointers after intermission.

Last Time Out
? Jermaine Taylor totaled a game-high 20 points and Tony Davis recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 boards as the Knights rolled to a 77-52 win at Rice Saturday. The Knights shot 54.2 percent overall and 53.8 percent from deep against the Owls. After the score was tied at 30 at intermission, UCF used a 14-0 run in the second half to pull away. The squad shot 61.3 percent after halftime.

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will continue its homestand Sunday, hosting Marshall at 2 p.m. The all-time series is tied, 3-3. The teams split the series in 2007-08, with each squad winning at home.

? UCF's P.J. Gaynor and Jerome Clyburn of Southern Miss both hail from Jacksonville. The pair met last February as Clyburn's Orange Park squad topped Gaynor and Mandarin in the Florida Class 6A Region I semifinals. Clyburn scored 21 points in the victory. In his final game at the high school level, Gaynor totaled 25 points.

Hometown Love
? After a pair of games on the road, the Knights are certainly happy to be at home. UCF's young squad has excelled at the UCF Arena this year. The team is averaging 82.1 points per game at home, compared to 61.4 points away from Orlando. In nine home contests, the Knights are shooting 51.0 percent overall and 41.1 percent from deep.
? UCF is 8-1 at home this year. The team is enjoying a scoring margin of +16.3 at the UCF Arena. The Knights have scored over 80 points on six occasions in Orlando.

Group Home
? The Knights have enjoyed great success at the UCF Arena since the facility opened in fall 2007. UCF is 20-5 at the venue. Before the team fell to Memphis on Jan. 10, the Knights had won 12-consecutive contests at the UCF Arena.

Return of the Knightmare
? The contest with Southern Miss will serve as the Knights' first tilt at the UCF Arena since the squad hosted Memphis on Jan. 10 in front of a school record 9,825 fans. The previous high attendance was 7,097 versus Tulsa on Jan. 12, 2007.
? UCF is averaging 4,274 fans this season. That mark ranks third among the 13 Division I programs in the Sunshine State, trailing only Florida (10,690) and Florida State (6,582). The Knights rank ahead of USF (3,748) and Miami (3,685).

Sure Shot
? Since UCF has joined Conference USA, the Knights have annually been among the top shooting teams in the league. This season is no different. UCF ranks first in the conference in field-goal percentage (45.7) and is also tops from 3-point range, shooting 36.3 percent from deep.
? UCF is connecting on 7.4 3-pointers per contest.
? The Knights also lead the conference in field goal percentage (48.1) in league games.

Tough Love
? In three Conference USA games, UCF has made it tough on its opponents on the offensive end. Despite the fact that UCF has faced two of the top conference teams in Memphis and UAB, C-USA foes are averaging just 61.7 points on 38.6 percent shooting.
? From behind-the-arc, league teams are connecting on just 25.8 percent of their attempts versus the Knights.

Conference Confidence
? Tony Davis has excelled for the Knights in Conference USA play. Against league foes, he is averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. Davis has shot 62.5 percent overall in UCF's three conference contests. In league games, he ranks third in field-goal percentage, sixth in rebounding and third in blocks per game (2.0).
? Eleven of Davis' 14 rebounds in league play have come on the offensive end.

Off the Blocks
? Tony Davis ranks eighth in UCF history with 64 career swats. Jeff Dorschner (1980-82) is seventh on the list with 83 blocked shots. Davis has totaled 12 blocks in 13 contests this season.

Sharing the Rock
? Thanks to A.J. Rompza and Taylor Young, the Knights pace Conference USA in assists, averaging 15.9 a contest. Four Knights have dished out over 20 assists on the year, led by Rompza with 84.

Handle with Care
? UCF's starting shooting guard, Taylor Young, leads Conference USA with a 3.00 assist/turnover ratio. The redshirt sophomore has recorded 54 assists with just 18 turnovers.
? Young has been extra careful in C-USA play. In three games, he has totaled 12 assists without turning the ball over.

Pass it On
? A.J. Rompza is third in Conference USA, recording 4.9 assists per game. His 2.13 assist/turnover ratio is good for fifth in the league. He has registered at least five assists 10 times.

On Point
? UCF's starting center, Kenrick Zondervan, rarely shoots, but when the native of Holland does have a field-goal attempt, he is accurate. The senior is shooting 63.6 percent from the floor this year. He has connected on 35-of-55 shots from the field and is averaging 5.5 points per contest. At the free-throw line, he is shooting 81.5 percent (22-of-27).
? Zondervan totaled 12 points in UCF's win at Rice Saturday and is averaging 9.3 points in C-USA play. The senior is 8-of-8 at the free-throw line in league contests.

Transfer of Power
? A.J. Tyler, who is in his first year competing for the Knights after transferring from Clemson, is shooting 71.4 percent overall in Conference USA play. The sophomore forward has made 10-of-14 attempts and is averaging 7.7 points in league games.

Welcome Freshman
? One of the youngest members of the UCF squad has been proving that Jermaine Taylor is not the Knights' only offensive threat. Isaac Sosa ranks third on the team in scoring at 8.5 points per game. The freshman shooting guard is averaging 19.8 minutes. He has scored in double figures on six occasions.

Three's Company
? Isaac Sosa has been accurate from 3-point range as a freshman. He is shooting at a 45.1 percent clip from deep, making 32-of-71 attempts. The Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, native is averaging 1.9 triples per game. Because he is averaging less than two 3-pointers, Sosa is not listed among the Conference USA leaders in the category. His percentage would rank first in the league.

Jermaine Taylor Notes
Follow the Leader
? One of the premier players in the country, Jermaine Taylor ranks 10th nationally and second in Conference USA in scoring at 23.1 points per game. The shooting guard has led the Knights in scoring in 16 of the team's 17 contests in 2008-09. He has recorded nine 20-point performances and four 30-point showings.

Moving Up the Charts
? During the season, Taylor has quickly moved up the UCF career scoring chart and now ranks fifth all-time with 1,560 points. Against Rice on Saturday, he passed his cousin, Darryl Davis. From 1991-95, Davis totaled 1,540 points for the Knights. He played for head coach Kirk Speraw in 1993-94 and was a member of UCF's NCAA Tournament squad that season. In 2008, Davis was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame. Both cousins attended Tavares High School.
? Taylor is also second on the school's Division I scoring register. Ken Leeks (1988-92) is the program's all-time leader in scoring at the D-I level with 1,763 points.

The Score
? With 20 points at Rice on Saturday, Taylor entered the top 15 on the Conference USA career scoring list. Against Southern Miss, he should move to 13th on the C-USA register. Demon Brown (Charlotte, 2000-04) is 14th with 1,563 points and Jason Maxiell (Cincinnati, 2002-05) is 13th at 1,566.
? USF's Altron Jackson (1999-02) is the league's all-time leader in scoring with 2,017 points. Some of the big names on the top-15 list include Rodney Carney (Memphis), Travis Diener (Marquette) and Jason Maxiell (Cincinnati).
? Taylor, who has made 565 field goals during his career, needs six baskets to enter the top 15 of the league's field goals made register.

Efficient Efforts
? Last season, Taylor averaged a team-high 20.8 points in 33.5 minutes per game. This season, he has been more productive despite playing fewer minutes. He is averaging 23.1 points in only 29.8 minutes per contest.
? In 2008-09, Taylor has scored 373 points in only 484 minutes, giving him an average of 31.0 points per 40 minutes.

Field Day
? Shooting 50.0 percent overall, Taylor has been incredibly accurate this season. His field-goal percentage ranks fourth in Conference USA. He is the only player listed in the league's top-15 in the category who has made more than 110 field goals.

Trey Songz
? With 201 career triples, Taylor ranks second in UCF history in the category. With three 3-pointers against Memphis on Jan. 10, he passed former teammate Mike O'Donnell (2005-08) on the school's list. O'Donnell made 195 treys as a Knight. Jason Thornton is the school's all-time leader in 3-pointers. He made 220 from 1998-02. Taylor has attempted a school record 523 triples during his career.
? He is shooting 40.4 percent from deep this year, good for fourth in Conference USA.

Happy to be Home
? Taylor should be pleased that the Knights are opening up a three-game homestand with the tilt against Southern Miss. This season, he is averaging 29.0 points on 57.6 percent shooting at the UCF Arena. He is shooting 47.3 percent from 3-point range and 83.3 percent at the line at home.

? Taylor is 12th in Conference USA, shooting 77.6 percent at the free-throw line. He needs just one made foul shot to enter the top 10 in UCF history in the category. Taylor has hit 229 free throws during his career. Brad Traina (1995-99) is 10th in program history with 230 made free throws.
? Taylor has improved his touch at the line each season at UCF. As a freshman in 2005-06, he made just 11-of-25 (44.0 percent) of his tries from the charity stripe.

So Much More
? This season, Taylor is exhibiting that he is more than just a lethal scorer. He is second on the team on the glass in 2008-09, grabbing 5.4 rebounds per contest. Twenty-five of his 66 boards have come on the offensive end.
? Taylor, who is listed at 6-foot-4, leads UCF in blocks with 15, which ranks 11th in Conference USA.