Men's Basketball to Return to Action at Houston

Feb. 20, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

HOUSTON, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) - One week after its thrilling comeback victory over Tulsa, the UCF men's basketball team will return to the hardwood when the Knights face host Houston Saturday. Tip-off for the Conference USA contest at Hofheinz Pavilion is set for 8 p.m. Eastern.

The Knights (16-9, 6-5 C-USA) will be playing for the first time since rallying for a 74-72 victory over visiting Tulsa last Saturday. UCF trailed by 17 points with 10:36 to play. Senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.) totaled 35 points in the win and freshman guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) hit the game-winning jumper with less than one second to go in the game.

An All-America candidate, Taylor is fifth nationally in scoring at 25.0 points per game. In league play, he is averaging 26.6 points.

Houston is 16-9 overall and 7-4 in C-USA action.

The contest will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and WYGM 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from Texas, with pregame coverage beginning at 7:30 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 Houston
? Averaging 78.5 points, Houston boasts Conference USA's top scoring offense. The team is led by Aubrey Coleman, who is averaging 23.8 points in C-USA contests. He finished with 38 points in 40 minutes on 16-of-30 shooting from the floor as Houston fell 88-83 at Marshall Wednesday.
? On the season, Coleman is averaging 20.0 points. Kelvin Lewis is averaging 18.2 points. Marcus Cousin paces the team on the glass, grabbing 9.0 boards per outing.

Series Information
? Houston has a 6-2 edge in the all-time series. The Knights are 1-2 at Hofheinz Pavilion, with the win coming on Jan. 14, 2006 (66-56). The victory served as UCF's inaugural C-USA triumph.
? The teams met in Orlando earlier this season and the Cougars recorded a 97-69 win on Feb. 4. Jermaine Taylor scored 26 points, but it was not enough as Houston shot 56.1 percent overall and never trailed during the contest. The Cougars outscored the hosts 23-9 during the first 8:38 of the game. Aubrey Coleman posted a game-high 30 points in 38 minutes in the win.
? In the meeting last season in Texas, Houston held on for a 73-68 victory on March 5. The Cougars made 18-of-23 free throws in the second half. Mike O'Donnell totaled a team-high 19 points for UCF. The Knights trailed by six points with 3:08 to play, but cut the Houston edge to 69-68 with 42 seconds remaining when Taylor went backdoor for a layup. On the ensuing possession, the Cougars' Marcus Malone quickly nailed a 3-pointer from the corner.
? In eight career games against Houston, Taylor is averaging 16.0 points.

Last Time Out
? A.J. Rompza hit a jumper in the lane with less than a second remaining to give the Knights a 74-72 comeback victory over Tulsa on Feb. 14 at the UCF Arena. The Knights trailed by 17 points with just over 10 minutes left in the game, but rallied as Jermaine Taylor totaled 22 of his game-high 35 points after intermission. In the first half, Taylor became UCF's all-time leading scorer at the Division I level.
? With Tulsa leading 56-39 with 10:36 to go, Taylor guided the Knights, scoring 16 points during a 32-11 run. He hit three 3-pointers during the span. On the defensive end, UCF pressed the Golden Hurricane and forced four turnovers, mostly in the backcourt. After Rompza made one of two free throws to give UCF a 72-69 edge, Tulsa's Glenn Andrews nailed a triple to tie the game with 13 seconds left. Following a UCF timeout, Rompza received the ball at midcourt and drove into the lane where he hit the game-winning shot.

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will return home to host Rice on Wednesday. The squads met on Jan. 17 in Houston and the Knights rolled to a 77-52 win behind 20 points from Jermaine Taylor. UCF outscored the Owls, 47-22, after intermission. UCF is 12-2 at home this season.

The Lone Star
? Dating back to the start of the 2007-08 campaign, Jermaine Taylor has been nearly unstoppable offensively in UCF's games in Texas. On the team's most recent trip to the state, he exploded for 38 points on Jan. 11 at UTEP. In six games in the state over the last two years, Taylor has averaged 24.0 points.

Sweet 16
? UCF has already surpassed its victory total from a year ago. With a win over Tulsa on Feb. 14, the Knights improved to 16-9 overall. In 2007-08, UCF went 16-15. The team did not win its 16th contest until March 1.

Guess Who's Back
? After A.J. Rompza severely sprained his ankle in the first half of UCF's contest with Houston on Feb. 4, UCF struggled on both ends of the court for three games. Without a healthy Rompza, the Knights fell to Houston and then dropped contests at East Carolina and UTEP. In three games (including Houston) without the services of the Chicago native, the Knights averaged 70.7 points, shot 38.2 percent from the field and dished out 13.0 assists a contest. All of the numbers were well below the team's season averages.
? Rompza returned to the floor last Saturday versus Tulsa and made an immediate impact. He did not start, but logged 31 minutes. The freshman scored five points and made one of the biggest baskets of the season for the Knights. With the score tied at 72, he drove the lane and hit the game-winning jumper with less than a second left to give UCF the win. Rompza also recorded four rebounds, a team-high three assists and two steals.

Board Work
? UCF was active on the glass during its last four games, finishing with an edge on the boards in each contest. The squad posted a +7.5 rebounding advantage in the games. The Knights nearly collected more offensive (71) than defensive (75) rebounds during the span. UCF averaged 36.5 rebounds in contests against Houston, East Carolina, UTEP and Tulsa.

Get One Free
? The fact that UCF is second in Conference USA, shooting 79.3 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.
? On the year, the Knights are shooting 73.9 percent at the line, which ranks second in C-USA.

Senior Moments
? As his collegiate career winds down, Kenrick Zondervan has clearly elevated his game. He is averaging 9.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in Conference USA play. During the non-conference portion of UCF's schedule, he averaged 4.6 points and 3.8 rebounds.
? Although Jermaine Taylor and A.J. Rompza received most of the accolades, Zondervan was key in UCF's win over Tulsa last Saturday. The senior totaled 18 points and made four free throws in the final three minutes of the contest. He went 8-of-12 at the line versus the Golden Hurricane.

Taking the Charity
? With his wide array of post moves, Kenrick Zondervan has been drawing fouls at an impressive rate during Conference USA play. The senior has made 34 trips to the foul line in 11 C-USA games. During the non-league portion of UCF's schedule, he attempted 19 free throws in 14 contests.

Sharing the Rock
? Thanks to A.J. Rompza and Taylor Young, the Knights pace Conference USA and rank in the top-40 nationally in assists, averaging 15.8 a contest. Four Knights have dished out over 30 assists on the year, led by Rompza with 114.
? In C-USA play, the Knights are averaging a conference-best 15.2 assists.

Handle with Care
? UCF's starting shooting guard, Taylor Young, is first in Conference USA and among the top-10 nationally with a 3.10 assist/turnover ratio. The redshirt sophomore has recorded 96 assists with just 31 turnovers this year.
? Young has been extra careful in C-USA play. In 11 games, he has totaled 54 assists with only 13 turnovers, and holds a 4.15 assist/turnover ratio.
? In C-USA games, he is averaging 4.9 assists, good for fourth in the conference.

Young Gets Online
? Taylor Young has been nearly perfect at the free-throw line in conference action. The guard is 16-of-18 (88.9 percent) at the charity stripe against Conference USA foes.
? During UCF's non-league schedule, he shot just 15-of-22 (68.2 percent) at the line.

Pass it On
? A.J. Rompza is fourth in Conference USA, recording 5.0 assists per game. His 2.15 assist/turnover ratio is good for fifth in the league. He has registered at least five assists 13 times. On three occasions in 2008-09, the Chicago native has recorded at least 10 assists.
? Rompza has played in 23 of UCF's games and has already registered 114 assists. A year ago, Chip Cartwright paced the squad with 107 assists on the season.

League Love
? A.J. Tyler has also been nearly perfect at the free-throw line in Conference USA contests. The sophomore, who is in his first campaign competing for the Knights after transferring from Clemson, is shooting a league-best 95.7 percent at the charity stripe. He has made 22-of-23 attempts.

Jermaine Taylor Notes
Scoring Machine
? One of the premier players in the country, Jermaine Taylor ranks fifth nationally and first in Conference USA in scoring at 25.0 points per game. The shooting guard has led the Knights in scoring in 24 of the team's 25 contests in 2008-09. Taylor has paced the squad in points in 20-consecutive games. He has recorded seven 30-point showings. In each of UCF's last nine games, Taylor has scored at least 20 points.

The Number One Spot
? During the first half of UCF's victory over Tulsa last Saturday, Taylor became UCFs all-time leading scorer at the Division I level. He has totaled 1,791 points during his time in Orlando. Against the Golden Hurricane, he passed Ken Leeks, who scored 1,763 points from 1988-92.
? UCF joined the Division I ranks prior to the 1984-85 campaign. Taylor is third all-time on the school's overall career scoring list. Bo Clark (1975-77, 78-80) is the school's career leader with 2,866 points.

The 30-30 Club
? When Taylor takes the floor at Houston, he will be seeking his third-consecutive 30-point outing. Against Tulsa last Saturday, he totaled 35 points. The performance served as his seventh 30-point game of the year and the 11th of his career. In the Knights' previous game, Taylor matched a career high with 38 points at UTEP on Feb. 11. He scored 19 points in each stanza versus the Miners.
? Since UCF joined the Division I ranks in 1984, no player has registered three-straight 30-point showings.

Major League
? Taylor is averaging 26.6 points in Conference USA play. He has scored at least 18 points in each of UCF's league contests. If the season ended today, his conference scoring average would be a league record. Houston's Robert McKiver holds the C-USA mark after averaging 25.4 points a year ago.

Shot Caller
? Taylor, who is shooting 49.8 percent from the field, has been extremely accurate this season. Among the top-10 scorers in the nation, Taylor is the top-shooting perimeter player. Only 6-foot-10 Blake Griffin of Oklahoma (63.8 percent) is shooting at a better clip from the field than Taylor. Taylor is seventh in Conference USA in the category.

Triple Trouble
? Taylor is shooting 41.9 percent from 3-point range, good for fourth in the conference. The mark also places in him the top-30 nationally.
? In Conference USA play, he is shooting 44.6 percent from deep. Taylor leads the league with a 3.7 triples per game average in conference games.

Third Base
? Against Houston on Feb. 4, Taylor hit three triples to become UCF's career leader in 3-pointers. He has made 234 triples at UCF. Jason Thornton was the all-time leader in the category. From 1998-02, he made 220 treys.
? Taylor has attempted a school record 602 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.

The Score
? Taylor currently ranks eighth on the Conference USA career scoring list. Corey Santee, who recorded 1,832 points for TCU from 2003-05, is seventh.
? UTEP senior Stefon Jackson is the league's all-time leader in points with 2,126. Some of the big names on the C-USA top-15 list include Rodney Carney (Memphis), Travis Diener (Marquette) and Jason Maxiell (Cincinnati).

More with Less
? 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 25.0 points in only 31.1 minutes per contest.

Points Taken
? If the campaign ended today, Taylor's overall scoring average of 25.0 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.

Honor Roll
? Taylor has garnered four Conference USA Player of the Week honors this season. Most recently, he was recognized on Feb. 16 after averaging 36.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in games against UTEP and Tulsa. The four C-USA Player of the Week awards for Taylor are the most in a single season for a league player since the 2002-03 campaign, when Dwyane Wade of Marquette was recognized five times. During his career, Taylor has been honored six times.