Knights Head West to Meet UTEP Wednesday

Feb. 10, 2009

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EL PASO, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) - Two of the top players in the nation will meet Wednesday when the UCF men's basketball team faces host UTEP at the Don Haskins Center. Tip-off for the Conference USA contest is set for 9 p.m. Eastern.

UCF (15-8, 5-4 C-USA) is led by senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.). The All-America candidate is sixth nationally, averaging 24.0 points per game. He has paced the team in scoring in 22 of the Knights' 23 games.

On Wednesday, Taylor will share the spotlight with UTEP's (13-9, 4-4) Stefon Jackson, who ranks 10th in the country in points per game (22.6). Jackson is C-USA's all-time leader in scoring.

The contest will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from El Paso. Pregame coverage will begin at 8:30 p.m. Live video and statistics 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 UTEP
? The Miners boast one of Conference USA's top offenses. The team is second in the league in scoring at 76.8 points per game. UTEP has two of the top scorers in the league in guards Stefon Jackson (22.6 points per game) and Randy Culpepper (18.4). UTEP is 7-3 at home this year. On Saturday, the Miners fell 76-65 at Tulsa.

Series Information
? The Knights have a 3-1 edge in the all-time series with UTEP. Since both programs joined Conference USA in 2005, UCF is 3-0 against the Miners. All-time, the programs have split a pair of contests in El Paso. The Knights will be facing the Miners in Texas for just the second time in C-USA play.
? The teams met in Orlando a year ago and UCF rolled to a 109-80 victory over UTEP on Jan. 23. The Knights tied a school record by shooting 70.2 percent overall. The squad went 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) from 3-point range. UCF led 56-31 at halftime. Jermaine Taylor totaled a game-high 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Mike O'Donnell went 6-of-6 from deep and finished with 19 points. UCF limited Stefon Jackson to 17 points.
? In the last meeting in El Paso, Taylor recorded 15 points off the bench as the Knights posted a 67-64 win on Jan. 27, 2007. A 3-pointer from O'Donnell with 2:19 to play was the difference.
? The contest will serve as the second of three trips to Texas for the Knights this year. The team met Rice on Jan. 17 and will play at Houston on Feb. 21.

A Texas Showdown
? The matchup in El Paso will pit two of the premier players in the nation against each other. UCF's Jermaine Taylor is sixth nationally in scoring (24.0), while Stefon Jackson of UTEP is 10th at 22.6 points an outing. Both players were selected to the All-Conference USA Preseason Team. Jackson is C-USA's all-time leading scorer with 2,046 career points. Taylor is 10th (1,718).

Last Time Out
? Twenty-four points from Jermaine Taylor was not enough as host East Carolina handed the Knights an 89-75 defeat Saturday. The Pirates shot 63.0 percent overall and 62.5 percent from 3-point range, making 15-of-24 attempts from deep.

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will return home to host Tulsa Saturday. The Golden Hurricane lead the all-time series, 4-3. The squads split two games a year ago, with the home team taking a win on both occasions. In the contest in Orlando, the Knights held on for a 97-91 victory in three overtimes on Jan. 12. The game served as the first Conference USA contest inside the UCF Arena and was played in front of a then-school record 7,097 fans. Jermaine Taylor led all players with 28 points.

The Long Haul
? The trip to El Paso is the longest conference voyage for the Knights. From Orlando to El Paso is 1,510 miles via the air. UTEP is the only Conference USA school located in the Mountain Time Zone. UCF will make its second-longest C-USA trip in March when the team plays at Tulsa. The trek to Oklahoma will force the Knights to travel 1,001 miles through the air.

The Lone Star
? Jermaine Taylor has enjoyed UCF's recent trips to Texas. Dating back to the start of last season, he is averaging 21.8 points in games played in the Lone Star State. The Knights have played five contests in Texas during the span. In the team's lone trip to the state so far this year, he totaled a game-high 20 points at Rice on Jan. 17.

Sweet 16
? When the Knights face UTEP, UCF will be seeking its 16th victory of the year. In 2007-08, the Knights went 16-15 overall. UCF did not win its 16th game until March 1.

Road Warriors
? UCF will also be in search of its fourth road victory of the season when it meets the host Miners. In 2007-08, the squad only won three road games, all in C-USA play.

Board Work
? The Knights have been active on the offensive glass in their last two games, averaging 24.5 offensive rebounds. At East Carolina Saturday, UCF grabbed 25 offensive rebounds, compared to 14 on the defensive end. Versus Houston on Feb. 4, 24 of the squad's 41 boards were offensive. Jermaine Taylor led the way with six offensive rebounds in the game against the Pirates. Tony Davis and Kenrick Zondervan each grabbed five boards on the offensive end.

Sure Shot
? Since UCF joined Conference USA in 2005, the Knights have annually been among the top shooting teams in the 12-team league. This season is no different. UCF is at the top of the league in the three major shooting percentage categories. UCF is second in free-throw percentage (73.6), third in field goal percentage (45.5) and second in 3-point field goal percentage (37.1).
? In conference action, the Knights pace the league in free-throw percentage (81.4).

Hitting the Freeway
? The fact that UCF currently leads Conference USA by shooting 81.4 percent at the free-throw line in league games should come as a surprise to those who watched the team play during the non-conference portion of its schedule. UCF shot 70.1 percent at the line against non-league foes.
? UCF especially struggled at the charity stripe at the start of the season. The Knights played six games in November and shot just 61.1 percent from the charity stripe during the month.

Senior Moment
? Kenrick Zondervan is coming off the best performance of his career Saturday at East Carolina. The senior totaled a career-best 19 points versus the Pirates. He shot 7-of-14 from the field and made all five of his free-throw attempts.
? Zondervan is averaging 9.1 points in C-USA play. Against non-league opponents, he averaged 4.6 points. In league action, the center is 14-of-14 at the free-throw line. On the year, he is shooting 84.8 percent at the stripe.

Double Trouble
? Tony Davis has recorded double-doubles in back-to-back games. At East Carolina Saturday, he totaled 13 points and 12 boards. Five of his rebounds came on the offensive end. He put up huge numbers against Houston on Feb. 4. The junior recorded a career-best 20 points and also grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds. Ten of his 13 boards came on the offensive end. Davis was productive despite playing only 25 minutes.
? Davis has been active on the glass in Conference USA play. He ranks fourth in the league in rebounds per game (8.8). Davis is averaging 3.9 offensive boards, good for first in the conference.

Sharing the Rock
? Thanks to A.J. Rompza and Taylor Young, the Knights pace Conference USA and rank 23rd nationally in assists, averaging 16.1 a contest. Four Knights have dished out over 30 assists on the year, led by Rompza with 111.
? In C-USA play, the Knights are averaging a conference-best 16.1 assists.

League Love
? A.J. Tyler, who is in his first year competing for the Knights after transferring from Clemson, has excelled for the Knights in Conference USA play. The sophomore appeared in 11 of UCF's 14 non-league games and averaged 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds.
? Against league foes, Tyler is averaging 8.1 points and 4.3 rebounds. He is shooting 55.8 percent overall and has made 22-of-23 (95.7 percent) of his free-throw attempts, which leads the league. Tyler has three double-digit scoring performances in conference action.

Jermaine Taylor Notes
Follow the Leader
? One of the premier players in the country, Jermaine Taylor ranks sixth nationally and first in Conference USA in scoring at 24.0 points per game. The shooting guard has led the Knights in scoring in 22 of the team's 23 contests in 2008-09. Taylor has paced the squad in points in 18-consecutive games. He has recorded 17 20-point performances and five 30-point showings.

Conference Confidence
? Taylor is averaging 24.4 points in Conference USA play. He has scored at least 18 points in each of UCF's league contests.

One Shot
? Taylor, who is shooting 49.4 percent from the field, has been extremely accurate this season. He ranks sixth in Conference USA in field goal percentage and is the only player listed in the top 15 who has attempted more than 325 shots (415).

Trey Songz
? Taylor is shooting 41.8 percent from 3-point range, good for second in the conference. The mark also places in him the top-30 nationally. The senior is connecting on 2.9 treys per game.
? In Conference USA play, he is shooting 45.1 percent from deep.

Third Base
? Against Houston on Feb. 4, Taylor connected on three triples to become UCF's career leader in 3-pointers. He has made 225 triples during his time in Orlando. Jason Thornton was UCF's all-time leader in the category. From 1998-02, he made 220 treys.
? Taylor has attempted a school record 581 3-pointers during his career. The fact that he has developed into one of the top long distance shooters in program history is especially impressive considering that he made just 17-of-57 (30.4 percent) of his tries from 3-point range as a freshman in 2005-06.

Moving Up the Charts
? During the season, Taylor has quickly moved up the UCF career scoring chart and now ranks fifth all-time with 1,718 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
? Taylor now ranks 10th on the Conference USA career scoring list. Jobey Thomas, who played for Charlotte from 1999-02, is ninth with 1,737 points.
? UTEP senior Stefon Jackson is the league's all-time leader in points with 2,046. Some of the big names on the C-USA top-15 list include Rodney Carney (Memphis), Travis Diener (Marquette) and Jason Maxiell (Cincinnati).

Points Taken
? If the campaign ended today, Taylor's scoring average of 24.0 points would rank second in Conference USA single-season history. Morris Almond of Rice averaged a C-USA record 26.4 points in 2006-07.