Knights Put Winning Streak on the Line at Tulane

Jan. 30, 2009

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will be seeking its fifth-consecutive victory when the Knights face host Tulane in Conference USA play Saturday in New Orleans. Tip-off from Fogelman Arena is slated for 3 p.m. Eastern.

The Knights (14-6, 4-2 C-USA) have not lost since dropping a close contest at UAB on Jan. 13. Tulane is 9-10 overall and 3-3 in league play.

UCF is currently tied with Tulsa for second in the conference standings. Senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.) enters Saturday's contest eighth nationally in points per game (23.7).

UCF-Tulane will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from the Crescent City and will be joined by former UCF guard Mike O'Donnell. Pregame coverage will begin at 2:30 p.m. A web broadcast of the game will be available on 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 Tulane
? Tulane has won two-consecutive contests and is 7-3 at home this year. Thanks to Kevin Sims, who scored a layup at the buzzer, the Green Wave handed host Rice a 61-59 defeat at Tudor Fieldhouse Wednesday.
? Sims paces the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game. Robinson Louisme is the team's top rebounder, grabbing 6.5 an outing.

Series Information
? The Knights have a 3-2 edge in the all-time series with Tulane. Since UCF joined Conference USA in 2005, the Knights are 2-1 versus the Green Wave. In New Orleans, the series is tied 1-1.
? The squads last met on Feb. 28, 2008, and the host Knights eased to an 80-63 win over Tulane at the UCF Arena. Jermaine Taylor totaled a game-high 19 points as five Knights finished the game with double-figures in scoring. The hosts shot 24-of-28 (85.7 percent) from the free-throw line in the victory. Taylor, who had started the team's previous 26 contests during the year, came off the bench against the Green Wave as the Knights' reserves accounted for 45 of the squad's points.
? In the most recent meeting in the Crescent City (Feb. 14, 2007), a game-high 23 points from Lavell Payne was not enough as Tulane used a near-perfect performance in the second half to rally for an 86-80 win over the Knights. UCF led by eight points at halftime, but Tulane outscored the visitors, 54-40, after halftime.
? Despite the loss in 2007, Kirk Speraw does have fond memories of Fogelman Arena. In 2002, his Knights won three games, including a 66-61 win over the host Green Wave, to claim the University Hoops Classic title.

? The contest against the Green Wave will serve as a homecoming for UCF's Will Weathers. A native of New Orleans, Weathers and his family moved to Lewisville, Texas, which is outside of Dallas, due to Hurricane Katrina. During his freshman year of high school, Weathers attended the Holy Cross School in New Orleans.
? UCF director of operations Micah Byars is very familiar with the Crescent City. From 2001-02, he worked as an administrative assistant on the New Orleans staff under head coach Monte Towe. While Byars worked with the Privateers, Hector Romero was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year in 2001-02.

Last Time Out
? Jermaine Taylor scored a game-high 22 points and the host Knights never trailed as UCF eased to a 70-45 victory over SMU Wednesday. UCF shot 51.6 percent before intermission and led 40-23 at the half. The Knights recorded 18 assists on 26 field goals, with A.J. Rompza dishing out 11.

Up Next for the Knights
? The Knights will return to action Wednesday, hosting Houston. The contest will be televised live nationally on CBS College Sports. The Cougars have a 5-2 edge in the all-time series. UCF's sports marketing staff has dubbed the game a "White Out," as all fans are encouraged to wear white to support the Knights.

Local Flavor
? Will Weathers and Micah Byars are not UCF's only ties to New Orleans. In November, R.J. Scott of nearby Slidell signed a National Letter of Intent with Kirk Speraw's program. The guard currently attends Salmen High School. As a junior in 2007-08, Scott garnered Louisiana Class 4A All-State Honorable Mention honors after averaging 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. He was also named the St. Tammany Parish Player of the Year.

Fearless Four
? The Knights had a tough start to their Conference USA season, opening up league play with narrow losses to Memphis and UAB. Since the 0-2 start, UCF has been unbeatable, winning four-consecutive contests.
? During the winning streak, the Knights have averaged 76.8 points and have outscored their opponents by an average of 20 points. In victories over Rice, Southern Miss, Marshall and SMU, UCF shot 52.3 percent overall and 45.8 percent from 3-point range. The squad also averaged 19.8 assists an outing.

Some additional notes on the four-game winning streak:
? Jermaine Taylor has averaged 25.0 points on 53.4 percent shooting
? Taylor Young has dished out 23 assists with only two turnovers
? A.J. Rompza has totaled 28 assists with just eight turnovers
? Tony Davis has averaged 10.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game
? During the span, he has made 10-of-11 (90.9 percent) of his free-throw attempts
? The Knights are shooting 88.5 percent at the free-throw line

Slowing Down the Ponies
? UCF did more than just slow down SMU on Wednesday during the Knights' 70-45 victory at the UCF Arena. The 45 points scored by the Mustangs were the fourth-fewest recorded by a UCF opponent since the program began Division I play in 1984.
? SMU shot just 29.8 percent from the field. From 3-point range, the Mustangs made 2-of-18 (11.1 percent) of their tries.

Halfway There
? UCF is 10-2 in 2008-09 when leading at the half. The squad has led at the break in each of its last three contests.

70 Something
? The Knights have scored at least 70 points in four-consecutive contests. On the year, the team is 6-0 when scoring 70 points or more.

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 leads C-USA in the three major shooting percentage categories: field goal (46.5), 3-point field goal (37.5) and free throw (73.1).
? In league play, the Knights pace the conference in both field goal percentage (49.8) and free-throw percentage (83.8). The squad is second from behind-the-arc, making 39.3 percent of its tries from 3-point range.

Tough Love
? In six 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 60.0 points. UCF's scoring defense mark leads the league. The Knights also pace the league in field goal percentage defense (38.8).
? From behind-the-arc, league teams are connecting on just 26.9 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 10.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. Davis has shot 51.2 percent overall in UCF's six conference contests.

Off the Blocks
? Tony Davis ranks eighth in UCF history with 68 career swats. Jeff Dorschner (1980-82) is seventh on the list with 83 blocked shots. Davis has totaled 17 blocks in 17 games played this season.

Sharing the Rock
? Thanks to A.J. Rompza and Taylor Young, the Knights pace Conference USA in assists, averaging 16.5 a contest. Four Knights have dished out over 20 assists on the year, led by Rompza with 105.
? In C-USA play, the Knights are averaging a conference-best 17.0 assists.

Handle with Care
? UCF's starting shooting guard, Taylor Young, leads Conference USA and ranks third in the nation with a 3.60 assist/turnover ratio. The redshirt sophomore has recorded 72 assists with just 20 turnovers.
? Young has been extra careful in C-USA play. In six games, he has totaled 30 assists with just two turnovers, and holds an unbelievable 15.00 assist/turnover ratio.

Pass it On
? A.J. Rompza is third in Conference USA, recording 5.3 assists per game. His 2.28 assist/turnover ratio is good for fifth in the league. He has registered at least five assists 12 times. On three occasions in 2008-09, the Chicago native has recorded at least 10 assists.
? Rompza has played in all 20 of UCF's games and has already registered 105 assists. A year ago, Chip Cartwright paced the squad with 107 assists on the season.

On Target
? UCF's starting center, Kenrick Zondervan, has been extremely accurate in league play. Against Conference USA foes, the native of Holland is shooting 62.5 percent from the floor as he has made 20-of-32 attempts. Zondervan is averaging 8.0 points in league play. He is 8-of-8 at the free-throw line.
? On the year, the senior is averaging 5.6 points on 53.4 percent shooting overall.

Transfer of Power
? A.J. Tyler, who is in his first year competing for the Knights after transferring from Clemson, is shooting 70.4 percent overall in Conference USA play. The sophomore forward is averaging 8.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in league games. At the free-throw line, he is 11-of-11.
? In Wednesday's win over visiting SMU, Tyler recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in 24 minutes off of the bench.

Jermaine Taylor Notes
Follow the Leader
? One of the premier players in the country, Jermaine Taylor ranks eighth nationally and first in Conference USA in scoring at 23.7 points per game. The shooting guard has led the Knights in scoring in 19 of the team's 20 contests in 2008-09. He has recorded 14 20-point performances and five 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 1,640 points. Against Rice on Jan. 17, 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
? After totaling 22 points in the victory over visiting SMU Wednesday, Taylor now ranks 12th on the Conference USA career scoring list. He needs 51 points to move to the 11th spot, which is currently occupied by Marquette's Brian Wardle, who scored 1,690 points from 1998-01.
? 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 596 career field goals, is in the top 10 on the league's list.

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 23.7 points in only 30.3 minutes per contest.
? In 2008-09, Taylor has scored 473 points in only 605 minutes, giving him an average of 31.3 points per 40 minutes.

Field Day
? Shooting 50.3 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 125 field goals.