UCF Moves to 10-1 at Home with an 87-69 Victory Over Marshall


Jan. 25, 2009

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Paced by a game-high 27 points from senior Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.), the UCF men's basketball team won its third-straight game in an 87-69 victory vs. Marshall (9-10, 2-3) Sunday at the UCF Arena. The Knights improved their record to 10-1 at home this season, while also jumping to 13-6 overall and 3-2 in Conference USA.

"I want to give credit to the guys who run our scout team because that was the reason we were successful today," said head coach Kirk Speraw. "That group really did a tremendous job of working hard for the last two days of simulating what (Marshall) does.

"I thought we had good offense and good movement. What I really like is how we had 28 baskets and 20 assists. I think that's a sign that you are moving the ball well and are unselfish. We've got some unselfish guys who are starting to understand and get a better feel for not only our offense but one another as well."

And it was that offense that lit up the court the entire game. After firing for 70.4 percent in the first half, the Knights finished with a 58.3 shooting percentage. Meanwhile, they delivered an 11-for-15 performance behind the 3-point line for their second-highest percentage in school history at 73.3. The UCF record stands at 78.6 percent (11-for-14) against South Carolina State Nov. 28, 1999.

Along with Taylor's 27, sophomore A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) notched season-highs with 15 points and seven rebounds, junior Tony Davis (Sarasota, Fla.) added 12 points and seven boards and freshman Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) completed his day with 10 points. Dishing out most of the points were sophomore Taylor Young (Orlando, Fla.) and freshman A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) who each had seven assists.

For the Thundering Herd, Chris Lutz collected 20 points and made 6-of-14 3-point attempts. Dago Pena (13 points), Markel Humphrey (12) and Shaquille Johnson (12) also posted double-digit totals.

From the opening tip, UCF and Marshall both used a quick tempo to set the tone early, with the Knights embracing a balanced scoring attack. Although Taylor entered the game by leading the Black and Gold 17 times in the first 18 outings, a total of 32 of UCF's first 34 points against the Herd came from players other than Taylor.

But that's when the seventh-leading scorer in the country found his rhythm, tallying the Knights' next 13 points in a span of less than four minutes to help his team grab a 50-41 advantage heading into the break. During that stretch, Taylor went 3-for-3 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 overall.

It was not just Taylor that impressed. As a team, UCF went 19-for-27 in the first half. And virtually every time Marshall went down and drained a three, the Knights seemed to have an answer and hit 7-of-8 from downtown themselves. Sosa went 2-for-2 from long range and finished the half with eight points. Tyler also connected for eight points in the opening stanza.

Marshall, however, held a 53.1 percentage from the field in the first half, and continued that trend following halftime. The Thundering Herd answered with an 8-2 run to quickly cut their deficit to 52-49.

Their momentum did not last long. UCF once again came right back to secure its largest lead of the afternoon at 62-51 with 13:15 to play, highlighted by treys from both Tyler and Taylor.

And this time, the Knights would not let Marshall back in it. UCF's cushion swelled to 22 points at the 5:49 mark, aided by a 15-for-16 showing at the free-throw line in the second half, as the Black and Gold was on its way to the 18-point triumph.

The Knights will conclude their three-game homestand with a Wednesday matchup against SMU at 7 p.m. at the UCF Arena. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by contacting the UCF Ticket Office at 407-823-1000 or by visiting Ticketmaster.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.