UCF Looking to Close Non-League Play with Another Home Win

Jan. 5, 2009

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - When the UCF men's basketball team hosts Holy Cross Tuesday, the Knights will be seeking their fifth-straight victory. Tip-off for UCF's (9-4) final non-league contest of the season is set for 7 p.m. at the UCF Arena.

The Knights are 7-0 at home this year and have won 11-consecutive games in Orlando dating back to last season. Senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.) enters the game with the Crusaders (5-9) averaging 23.2 points, which ranks second in Conference USA.

Taylor is averaging 29.7 points at home. As a team, the Knights are averaging 86.1 points at the UCF Arena.

Tuesday's game will be televised live in central Florida on Bright House Sports Network. Bernie Guenther will handle the play-by-play duties and will be joined by former UCF guard Mike O'Donnell on the broadcast.

Tickets for the contest are available via Ticketmaster. On Tuesday, the UCF Arena box office will be open before the game. UCF students are admitted free to all contests with a valid school ID.

After meeting Holy Cross, the Knights will open C-USA play Saturday versus national power Memphis. UCF fans are encouraged to wear black to the game to support the Knights.

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 Memphis game. The package also includes tickets to UCF's C-USA games with SMU (Jan. 28), Houston (Feb. 4) and East Carolina (March 7).

UCF-Holy Cross will air live on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. Live 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 Holy Cross
? The Crusaders are coming off of a 68-49 win over host Boston University Friday. Andrew Beinert scored a career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field in the win. Andrew Keister totaled a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards for Holy Cross. On the season, R.J. Evans is the team's top scorer at 13.4 points per game. Colin Cunningham is averaging 8.9 points and 5.5 boards and Beinert is chipping in with 7.1 points and 2.9 assists.

Series Information
? UCF and Holy Cross will be meeting for the first time. The Crusaders are members of the Patriot League and the Knights are 1-3 all-time against Patriot League programs. UCF's last meeting with a Patriot League squad came on Dec. 6, 2003, and the host Knights posted an 80-52 victory over Navy.
? The Knights are 2-1 all-time against programs from Massachusetts. UCF has not played a school from the Bay State since meeting Massachusetts in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament. UCF is 2-0 in Orlando against programs from the state. Most recently, the Knights defeated visiting Merrimack, 67-56, on Jan. 4, 1984.

Last Time Out
? Jermaine Taylor totaled a game-high 26 points, and A.J. Rompza added a career-best 15 points as UCF topped visiting Sam Houston State, 86-70, Saturday. UCF pulled away from the Bearkats by using an 18-0 run midway though the first half. Taylor scored 23 of his points in the second half, including a 14-of-16 showing at the free-throw line.

Up Next for the Knights
? The Knights will open Conference USA play Saturday at home against one of the nation's premier programs in Memphis. The Tigers won 38 games a year ago and played in the national title game against Kansas. The game will be televised live nationally on CBS College Sports and in the Orlando area on Bright House Sports Network.

? When the Knights participated in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, UCF faced Connecticut in Worcester, Mass. Holy Cross served as the host for the regional, which was played at the DCU Center.

On the Air
? The contest with Holy Cross marks the start of UCF's partnership with Bright House Sports Network. The network is scheduled to produce and air three UCF games this year, starting with the matchup with the Crusaders. Bright House Sports Network will also broadcast the Knights' Conference USA games against SMU (Jan. 28) and Rice (Feb. 25) from the UCF Arena.
? Veteran Florida broadcaster Bernie Guenther will handle the play-by-play duties for the UCF games. On Tuesday, he will be joined on the broadcast by former UCF standout Mike O'Donnell. This season, O'Donnell has served as the color analyst on UCF home radio broadcasts and will have the same role for the Holy Cross game.

They Love the 80s
? UCF has scored over 80 points in each of its last four games. The Knights are averaging 85.3 points during the span. The last time that UCF scored over 80 points in four-consecutive contests came at the start of the 2006-07 campaign.
? The Knights have not recorded 80-point performances in five-straight games since the 1991-92 campaign.

? The Knights have won four-consecutive contests. UCF has not won five-straight games since opening the 2006-07 campaign 6-0. Last year, the team had one four-game winning streak. Kirk Speraw's squad began Conference USA play 4-0.

Home Court Advantage
? The Knights enter the game against Holy Cross with an 11-game winning streak at the UCF Arena. The team is off to a 7-0 start at the facility this season. The Knights have claimed 10-straight non-conference contests in Orlando.
? Since the UCF Arena opened last fall, UCF is 19-4 at the venue.

On Line
? The Knights didn't shoot exceptionally well from the field in their win over Sam Houston State, but the team did get it done at the free-throw line. The Knights shot 83.3 percent at the stripe, making 35-of-42 attempts. In the second half, the squad shot 24-of-28 (85.7) at the line.
? Jermaine Taylor went 14-of-16 at the charity stripe in the win, and A.J. Rompza made all 10 of his attempts.

You Don't Know the Half
? UCF has held on to its leads this season. The Knights are 6-0 when leading at halftime. UCF took an advantage into intermission in each of its last four contests.

Best Week Ever
? In three UCF victories last week, A.J. Rompza dished out 22 assists and had just five turnovers, posting an impressive 4.4 assist/turnover ratio. The 5-foot-9 freshman averaged 7.3 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 steals in the three contests.
? He began the week by totaling seven assists and grabbing a game-high seven boards against Penn. In the Knights' win over Chicago State, Rompza, a Chicago native, recorded 10 assists with only one turnover. On the defensive end, he helped limit Chicago State's David Holston, who entered the game second nationally at 27.8 points per game, to only 14 points on 4-of-17 shooting from the floor. The games against Penn and Chicago State were part of the UCF Holiday Classic and Rompza garnered a spot on the all-tournament team.
? In UCF's final contest of the week, Rompza scored a career-high 15 points against Sam Houston State. He went 10-of-10 at the free-throw line against the Bearkats and also added six rebounds, five assists and four steals in the victory.

Sharing the Rock
? A.J. Rompza ranks third in Conference USA, averaging 5.3 assists per game. His 2.38 assist/turnover ratio is good for fourth in the league. ? At home, Rompza is averaging 6.9 assists. In seven games in Orlando, he has dished out 48 assists and committed only 13 turnovers.

Triple Time
? Isaac Sosa has proved his accuracy at the start of his collegiate career. The freshman is shooting 50.9 percent from 3-point range, which leads Conference USA. His 3-point field goal percentage is better than his effort from the floor (50.5). Sosa has made 29-of-57 attempts from deep.
? Sosa is averaging 2.2 treys per game, which ranks seventh in the conference.

The Dish
? Thanks to A.J. Rompza, the Knights are tied for first in Conference USA in assists per game (16.3). UCF is tied with East Carolina for the league lead.

Off the Blocks
? With six blocks in 10 games this year, Tony Davis continues to move up the UCF career swats register. The junior forward has recorded 57 blocks during his career, good for ninth in program history. Bucky Hodge, who played for the Knights from 1997-99, ranks eighth with 62 swats.

Jermaine Taylor Notes
In the Lead
? One of the nation's premier offensive players, Jermaine Taylor is currently second in Conference USA, averaging 23.2 points per game. The shooting guard has led the Knights in scoring in 12 of the team's 13 contests in 2008-09. He has recorded six 20-point performances and four 30-point showings.

What a Week
? In three games last week, Taylor was incredible for the Knights. He averaged 32.7 points in three UCF victories. The senior shooting guard shot 56.9 percent overall and 40.0 percent from 3-point range. He averaged only 27.7 minutes per contest: he totaled 98 points during the week in only 83 minutes. He also shot 83.9 percent at the free-throw line. Additionally, the shooting guard averaged 5.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks.
? He began the week by totaling 34 points on 14-of-21 shooting versus Penn. Taylor followed that performance by recording a career-high 38 points against Chicago State in only 29 minutes of action. He shot 13-of-22 overall and 9-of-11 at the line versus the Cougars. The games against Penn and Chicago State were part of the UCF Holiday Classic, and Taylor earned MVP honors at the event. In UCF's final game of the week, Taylor made 14-of-16 attempts at the charity stripe and finished with 26 points against Sam Houston State.

Premier Production
? 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. Taylor is averaging 23.2 points in 29.2 minutes per game.
? On the year, he has scored 302 points in 380 minutes, giving him an average of 31.8 points per 40 minutes.
? UTEP's Stefon Jackson, who leads Conference USA in points per game at 23.8, is averaging 35.5 minutes.

? Tournament organizers had an easy time selecting the UCF Holiday Classic MVP on Dec. 30. In two contests at the event, Taylor averaged 36.0 points in only 27.5 minutes per contest. He shot a staggering 62.8 percent from the floor, 46.2 percent from 3-point range and 80.0 percent at the line. Taylor also averaged 4.5 rebounds and totaled three blocked shots and three steals for the Knights in wins over Penn and Chicago State.

Family Ties
? Taylor currently ranks sixth in UCF history with 1,469 career points. Who is up next on the list? Taylor's 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 also ranks third 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.

House Party
? Taylor has been stellar at home this season as the senior is averaging 29.7 points at the UCF Arena. In seven games, he is shooting 59.1 percent from the floor, 47.5 percent from deep and 84.8 percent at the free-throw line.

Field Day
? Shooting 49.6 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 attempted more than 200 field goals.

Trey Songz
? With 189 career triples, Taylor ranks third in UCF history in the category. Former teammate Mike O'Donnell (2005-08) is second with 195 treys. Jason Thornton is the school's all-time leader in 3-pointers. He made 220 from 1998-02.
? Against Holy Cross, Taylor should become UCF's all-time leader in 3-point field goal attempts. He has tried 502 triples at UCF. Thornton attempted a school-record 505 treys during his career.