Men's Basketball Back in Action at Home on Wednesday

Feb. 24, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - With the 2008-09 men's basketball regular season nearing its completion, UCF fans will have another opportunity to watch senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.) and the Knights compete when the squad hosts Rice at the UCF Arena Wednesday. Tip-off for the Conference USA contest is set for 7 p.m.

An All-America candidate, Taylor is fourth nationally in scoring at 25.3 points per game. In league play, he is averaging 27.3 points. In UCF's last home contest, a thrilling 74-72 comeback win over Tulsa on Feb. 14, he became the school's all-time leading scorer at the Division I level.

The Knights (16-10, 6-6 C-USA) are 12-2 at home this season. Rice is 8-18 overall and 3-9 in conference action.

Prior to the game, former UCF football standout Mike Walker will be on hand to sign autographs for fans. Walker, who currently plays for Jacksonville in the National Football League, will appear in the arena lobby from 6-7 p.m.

Tickets for the contest are available by calling Ticketmaster at (407) 839-3900 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com. The arena box office will be open Wednesday before the game. All UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID. American Stor-All Storage is the presenting sponsor of the contest.

The game will be televised live in central Florida on Bright House Sports Network. Bernie Guenther will handle the play-by-play and Mark Wise will provide color commentary.

UCF-Rice will also be aired on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and WYGM 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call and will be joined on the broadcast by former UCF star Mike O'Donnell. Pregame coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. Live statistics and video 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 Rice
? The Owls lead Conference USA in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 38.9 percent from deep. The squad is averaging 65.3 points per game and is among the league leaders in assists (14.2). Rodney Foster is the team's top scorer at 12.0 points per game. Foster recorded a game-high 18 points as Rice fell at SMU, 69-66, Saturday.

Series Information
? UCF owns a 6-2 edge in the all-time series with the Owls. In Orlando, the Knights are 2-0 versus Rice. The teams met on Jan. 17 of this year in Houston and the Knights rolled to a 77-52 win behind a game-high 20 points from Jermaine Taylor. The score was tied at 30 at halftime, but UCF outscored the hosts 47-22 after intermission.
? Last season, the Knights held on for a 68-60 victory over the Owls on March 1 at the UCF Arena. Taylor scored 20 points in the win. Playing in his final home game, Dave Noel added 19 points. Lawrence Ghoram led the Owls with 23 points.
? In seven career contests against Rice, Taylor is averaging 12.1 points. Since the start of his junior campaign, he is averaging 20.7 points versus the Owls.

Last Time Out
? Despite a game-high 35 points from Jermaine Taylor, UCF was not able to top host Houston on Saturday as the Cougars held on for a 77-72 win. The Cougars went to the free-throw line 37 times and made 25 foul shots during the contests.

Up Next for the Knights
? The Knights will begin a two-game road swing Saturday at Marshall. Jermaine Taylor totaled 27 points on Jan. 25 as host UCF eased to an 87-69 victory over the Thundering Herd. A.J. Tyler added 15 points in the win.

Home Cooking
? The Knights have enjoyed a clear home-court advantage at the UCF Arena this season. UCF is averaging 79.4 points per contest at home, compared to 65.4 points away from Orlando. In 14 home games, the squad is shooting 49.7 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from 3-point range.
? Jermaine Taylor has been especially dominating at home. In Orlando, the All-America candidate is averaging 28.7 points on 54.7 percent shooting overall.
? Last season, UCF averaged 81.1 points at the arena, compared to 63.6 points on the road.

Friendly Facility
? UCF has experienced great success at home since the program moved into the UCF Arena in fall 2007. The Knights are 24-6 at the venue. This year, the squad is 12-2 in Orlando.
? In Conference USA play, the Knights are 10-4 at the UCF Arena.

Sweet 16
? The Knights need one victory to surpass their win total from a year ago. UCF's win over visiting Tulsa on Feb. 14 gave the squad its 16th victory of the season. In 2007-08, UCF went 16-15. The team did not win its 16th contest until March 1.

The Youngsters
? Already one of the youngest squads in the nation, UCF will close the campaign with just three upperclassmen - seniors Jermaine Taylor and Kenrick Zondervan and junior Drew Speraw. At Houston on Saturday, underclassmen played 72.5 percent of the team's minutes. Taylor (35) was the lone senior or junior who spent more than 20 minutes on the floor.

The Get Fresh Crew
? Four true freshmen saw time at Houston. The group accounted for 40.0 percent of the Knights' minutes. A.J. Rompza started against the Cougars and Chris Baez, P.J. Gaynor and Isaac Sosa all came off of the bench.

Sosa Steps Up
? UCF's short-handed lineup got a boost Saturday at Houston when Isaac Sosa proved that Jermaine Taylor is not the team's only scoring threat. Sosa nailed four treys against the Cougars and finished with 16 points. Sosa ranks third on the team in scoring at 8.5 points per game. The freshman shooting guard is averaging 19.4 minutes and has scored in double-figures nine times.

Get One Free
? The fact that UCF paces Conference USA, shooting 79.4 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.
? On the year, the Knights are shooting 74.1 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 9.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in Conference USA play. During the non-conference portion of UCF's schedule, he averaged 4.6 points and 3.8 rebounds.

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 37 trips to the foul line in 12 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 31st nationally in assists, averaging 15.9 a contest. Four Knights have dished out over 30 assists on the year, led by Rompza with 121.
? In C-USA play, the Knights are averaging a conference-best 15.4 assists.

Handle with Care
? UCF's starting shooting guard, Taylor Young, is second in Conference USA and 13th in the country with a 2.77 assist/turnover ratio. The redshirt sophomore has recorded 97 assists with just 35 turnovers this year.
? Young has been extra careful in C-USA play. In 12 games, he has totaled 55 assists with only 17 turnovers, and holds a 3.24 assist/turnover ratio.
? In C-USA games, he is averaging 4.6 assists, good for fifth in the conference.

Young Gets Online
? Taylor Young has been strong at the free-throw line in conference action. The guard is 17-of-20 (85.0 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 third in Conference USA, recording 5.0 assists per game. His 2.20 assist/turnover ratio is good for fifth in the league. He has registered at least five assists 14 times. On three occasions in 2008-09, the Chicago native has recorded at least 10 assists.
? Rompza has played in 24 of UCF's games and has already registered 121 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 95.7 percent at the charity stripe. He has made 22-of-23 attempts. His percentage would lead the league, but he has made fewer than 2.0 foul shots per conference game.

Jermaine Taylor Notes
Scoring Machine
? One of the premier players in the country, Jermaine Taylor ranks fourth nationally and first in Conference USA in scoring at 25.3 points per game. The shooting guard has led the Knights in scoring in 25 of the team's 26 contests in 2008-09. Taylor has paced the squad in points in 21-consecutive games. He has recorded eight 30-point showings. In each of UCF's last 10 games, Taylor has scored at least 20 points.

Three the Hard Way
? Taylor was unstoppable in UCF's last three contests, averaging 36.0 points against UTEP, Tulsa and Houston. He began the stretch by matching his career high with 38 points at UTEP on Feb. 11. The All-America candidate followed that performance with 35 points against Tulsa on Feb. 14 and another 35-point showing at Houston last Saturday. During the three games, he shot 50.7 percent overall, hit 12 3-pointers and went 26-of-30 (86.7 percent) at the free-throw line.

The 30-30-30 Club
? With 35 points at Houston Saturday, Taylor became the first player since UCF joined the Division I ranks in 1984 to post three-straight 30-point performances. During his career, Taylor has registered 12 30-point games.

The Number One Spot
? During the first half of UCF's victory over Tulsa on Feb. 14, Taylor became UCFs all-time leading scorer at the Division I level. He has totaled 1,826 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.

Major League
? Taylor is averaging 27.3 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 hitting 49.6 percent of his shots, is the most accurate shooter among the top-10 scorers in the country. Davidson's Stephen Curry, who paces the nation in scoring, is shooting 45.0 percent overall. Taylor is seventh in Conference USA in the category.

Triple Trouble
? Taylor is shooting 40.6 percent from 3-point range, good for third in the conference. The mark also places in him 33rd in the country.
? In Conference USA play, he is shooting 41.9 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 treys to become UCF's career leader in 3-pointers. He has made 237 triples at UCF. Jason Thornton was the all-time leader in the category. From 1998-02, he made 220 3-pointers.
? Taylor has attempted a school record 615 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 2,150. 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 overall scoring average of 25.3 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.