Knights Head to West Virginia to Face Marshall

Feb. 27, 2009

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HUNGTINGTON, W.Va. (UCFAthletics.com) - With the regular season coming to a close, the UCF men's basketball team will return to action Saturday at Marshall. Tip-off for the Conference USA contest at the Cam Henderson Center is set for 7 p.m.

Led by senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.), the Knights are 16-11 overall and 6-7 in league play. An All-America candidate, Taylor is third in the country in points per game (26.1). He is averaging 28.7 points in C-USA games.

Marshall is 13-15 overall and 5-8 in the conference. The Thundering Herd have won 11 of 14 games at home this season.

The game will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and WYGM 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from West Virginia. Pregame coverage is set to begin at 6:30 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 Marshall
? Marshall is 11-3 at home this season. The Thundering Herd are coming off of a 76-62 victory at East Carolina Wednesday behind 24 points from Markel Humphrey. The senior is the team's leading scorer at 12.4 points per game. He ranks third in Conference USA, shooting 55.7 percent from the field. Marshall is averaging 72.2 points and is shooting 44.7 percent overall.

Series Information
? UCF leads the all-time series with the Thundering Herd, 4-3. Marshall has a 2-1 edge in West Virginia. This season, the host Knights recorded an 87-69 victory on Jan. 25 behind 27 points from Jermaine Taylor. UCF shot 70.4 percent in the first half and led 50-41 at the break.
? In the meeting in Huntington a year ago, Marshall held on for a 71-66 win behind 22 points from Tyler Wilkerson. The hosts shot 27-of-32 (84.4 percent) at the free-throw line. Mike O'Donnell hit four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points for the Knights. Jermaine Taylor chipped in with 10 points.

Last Time Out
? Jermaine Taylor established a school Division I single-game scoring record with 45 points, but UCF could not complete another miraculous comeback at the UCF Arena as Rice held on for a 69-66 win Wednesday. Taylor scored 26 of the Knights' 30 second-half points as the hosts nearly erased a 20-point deficit late in the game. The Owls led 65-45 with 6:57 remaining, but Taylor scored 19 points during a 21-5 run to close the game. UCF got within one point with 1:20 to go after a traditional 3-point play from Taylor, but the hosts were unable to take the lead.

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will play its final road contest of the year, traveling to Oklahoma to meet Tulsa on Wednesday. The squads met in Orlando on Feb. 14 and A.J. Rompza hit a jumper in the lane with less than a second remaining to give UCF a 74-72 comeback victory. The Knights trailed by 17 points with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, but rallied as Jermaine Taylor totaled 22 of his game-high 35 points after intermission.

? UCF's P.J. Gaynor and Marshall's Shaquille Johnson both hail from Jacksonville and were teammates on the AAU level for the Lee Bulls. Gaynor attended Mandarin High School, while Johnson went to Lee High School.

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.

Road Tested
? With two games left away from home, UCF has already matched its road victory total from last season as the squad is 3-6 on opponent's homecourts. In 2007-08, the Knights went 3-8 on the road.

Wing Men
? Jermaine Taylor has obviously done most of the scoring this year for the Knights. The senior guard has led the squad in points in 25 of the team's 26 contests, but he has had help offensively from several teammates. Six Knights have held the role of UCF's second-leading scorer during games this season. Currently, Kenrick Zondervan leads the way, having occupied the position five times.
? On the one occasion when Taylor did not pace the Knights in scoring, Isaac Sosa led the way with 19 points versus South Dakota State on Nov. 29. Sosa has been the second-leading scorer on four occasions, as has A.J. Tyler. On three occasions, A.J. Rompza has backed up Taylor in the scoring column and Chris Baez has occupied the spot twice.

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. Versus Rice Wednesday, underclassmen played 66.5 percent of the team's minutes.

The Get Fresh Crew
? Five freshmen saw time versus the Owls. The group accounted for 32.5 percent of the Knights' minutes. A.J. Rompza started against Rice and Chris Baez, P.J. Gaynor, Isaac Sosa and Will Weathers all came off of the bench.

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.

Grab a Rebound
? A.J. Tyler has led the Knights on the glass in two-straight games as he averaged 10.0 boards versus Houston and Rice. The 6-foot-9 sophomore started both games at power forward. On the season, he is third on the squad with 4.4 rebounds per game.

Get One Free
? The fact that UCF paces Conference USA, shooting 80.2 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 74.6 percent at the line, which ranks second in C-USA.

Foot Loose
? Before the 2008-09 campaign, the 3-point line was moved back a foot. The change has barely had an impact on the Knights. In fact, UCF is shooting better from deep this season compared to a year ago. After shooting 36.6 percent from 3-point range in 2007-08, the team is making 36.5 percent of its attempts from behind-the-arc this year.
? Last season, Jermaine Taylor went 79-of-215 (36.7 percent) from deep. This year, the senior has made 83-of-205 (40.5 percent) of his attempts.

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 13 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 among the top-35 nationally in assists, averaging 15.7 a contest. Four Knights have dished out over 30 assists on the year, led by Rompza with 123.
? In C-USA play, the Knights are averaging a conference-best 15.1 assists.

Pass it On
? A.J. Rompza is third in Conference USA, recording 4.9 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 25 of UCF's games and has already registered 123 assists. A year ago, Chip Cartwright paced the squad with 107 assists on the season.

Jermaine Taylor Notes
Scoring Machine
? One of the premier players in the country, Jermaine Taylor ranks third nationally in scoring at 26.1 points per game. The shooting guard has led the Knights in scoring in 26 of the team's 27 contests in 2008-09. Taylor has paced the squad in points in 22-consecutive games. He has recorded eight 30-point showings and one 40-point performance. In each of UCF's last 11 games, Taylor has scored at least 20 points.
? Below is a list of the leading scorers in the nation, through games of Feb. 26:

1. Stephen Curry, Davidson (28.3)
2. Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin (26.9)
3. Jermaine Taylor, UCF (26.1)
4. David Holston, Chicago State (25.9)
5. Jodie Meeks, Kentucky (25.1)

Wearing the 4-5
? Taylor is coming off of one of the best individual performances in Conference USA history as he totaled 45 points versus Rice Wednesday. Against the Owls, he shot 14-of-29 overall, 5-of-13 from deep and 12-of-13 at the line. Some notes about his scoring output are below:

? The 45 points were a school single-game Division I record and were good for fourth all-time at UCF
? He became the first UCF player since 1997 to eclipse the 40-point mark
? His scoring total was good for second in Conference USA history, trailing only Rober McKiver of Houston and the 52 points he recorded versus Southern Miss a year ago

Four Score
? Taylor was unstoppable in UCF's last four contests, averaging 38.3 points. The All-America candidate scored at least 35 points in each game. He began the stretch with 38 points at UTEP on Feb. 11 and followed that with 35 points in a home win over Tulsa on Feb. 14. Taylor totaled 35 points at Houston (Feb. 21) and then set numerous records with 45 points against Rice.
? During the four games, he shot 50.0 percent overall and went 38-of-43 (88.4 percent) at the charity stripe.

The Number One Spot
? During the first half of UCF's victory over Tulsa on Feb. 14, Taylor became UCF's all-time leading scorer at the Division I level. He has totaled 1,871 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 program's career leader with 2,866 points.

Major League
? Taylor is averaging 28.7 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 conference record. Houston's Robert McKiver holds the C-USA mark after averaging 25.4 points a year ago.

Shot Caller
? Taylor, who is hitting 49.5 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 45.1 percent overall. Taylor is seventh in Conference USA in the category.

The Score
? Taylor currently ranks sixth on the Conference USA career scoring list. Rodney Carney (Memphis, 2003-06) is fifth at 1,901.
? UTEP senior Stefon Jackson is the league's all-time leader in points with 2,178. 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 26.1 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.

Triple Trouble
? Taylor is shooting 40.5 percent from 3-point range, good for fourth in the conference. The mark also places in him in the top-35 nationally.
: ? In Conference USA play, he is shooting 41.5 percent from deep. Taylor leads the league with a 3.8 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 242 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 628 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.

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 26.1 points in only 31.3 minutes per contest.

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.

So Much More
? This season, Taylor is exhibiting that he is more than just a lethal scorer. He is second on the team on the glass in 2008-09, grabbing 5.3 rebounds per contest. Taylor, who is listed at 6-foot-4, is also second on the squad with 21 blocked shots.