Knights Seeking Sixth-Straight Win Wednesday

Feb. 3, 2009

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will be seeking its sixth-straight win when the Knights host Houston for a key Conference USA contest Wednesday. Tip-off at the UCF Arena is set for 7 p.m.

The contest is being billed a Whiteout as all UCF fans are encouraged to come armored in white to support the Knights.

UCF (15-6, 5-2 C-USA) has not lost since Jan. 13. Head coach Kirk Speraw's Knights are currently tied for second in the C-USA standings.

Senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.) is seventh nationally in scoring at 23.9 points per game. He has paced the team in points in 20 of the squad's 21 games. Sophomore guard Taylor Young (Orlando, Fla.) enters the contest with Houston (12-7, 3-3) as the nation's leader in assist/turnover ratio at 3.67.

Tickets for the game are available through Ticketmaster. On Wednesday, the UCF Arena box office will be open before tip-off.

The first 4,000 UCF students to enter the arena will receive a limited edition Knightmare t-shirt. Students are admitted free with a valid school ID. Prior to the game, UCF football All-America selection Joe Burnett will be on hand in the lobby to sign autographs. Commemorative Burnett posters will be distributed in the lobby.

UCF-Houston will be televised live nationally on CBS College Sports. Tom McCarthy will handle the play-by-play duties and will be joined by Greg Anthony.

The game will be aired on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels and Mike O'Donnell will have the call from courtside. Pregame coverage is set to begin 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 Houston
? The Cougars, who are averaging 77.8 points per game, feature Conference USA's top offense. Houston has two of the better scorers in the league in Kelvin Lewis (19.6) and Aubrey Coleman (19.1). In C-USA play, Coleman is second behind Jermaine Taylor in scoring at 24.2 points an outing. On Saturday, Coleman scored a career-high 35 points as Houston fell 83-68 at No. 18 Memphis.

Series Information
? The Cougars lead the all-time series, 5-2. In Orlando, Houston has a 2-1 edge against UCF. The squads met twice last year and Houston posted an 84-81 win over the Knights at the UCF Arena on Feb. 2, and then topped visiting UCF 73-68 on March 5.
? In two games against Houston a year ago, Jermaine Taylor averaged 23.5 points, highlighted by a 31-point showing in the contest in Orlando. In that game, he matched Houston offensive specialist Robert McKiver, who also finished with 31 points. In seven career games versus Houston, Taylor is averaging 14.6 points.

Last Time Out
? Jermaine Taylor scored seven of his game-high 28 points in overtime as UCF rallied to top host Tulane, 79-74, Saturday. The Knights trailed by 10 points midway through the second half. In overtime, UCF made 11-of-13 (84.6 percent) of its free-throw attempts. For the game, the team shot 45.9 percent overall and 88.9 percent at the line.

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will begin a two-game road swing Saturday at East Carolina. After meeting the Pirates, the squad will face host UTEP Wednesday, Feb. 11.

? The win over Tulane on Saturday gave UCF its first five-game Conference USA winning streak since joining the league in 2005. The Knights had won as many as four-straight league contests, but had never claimed five in a row.
? Overall, UCF is looking for its first six-game winning streak since opening the 2006-07 campaign 6-0.

Fantastic Five
? The Knights have been nearly perfect on both sides of the court during their winning streak. UCF has averaged 77.2 points during the last five games, compared to just 60.2 points for its foes. The Knights are shooting 50.9 percent overall, 44.0 percent from 3-point range and 88.6 percent at the free-throw line. The squad is also averaging 19.2 assists during the streak.

Hometown Love
? UCF's young team has excelled at the UCF Arena this season. The Knights are 11-1 in Orlando, where the team is averaging 80.8 points, compared to 63.3 on the road. In 12 home contests, the team is shooting 51.1 percent from the floor and 41.8 percent from 3-point range.

Group Home
? The Knights have enjoyed great success at the UCF Arena since the facility opened in fall 2007. UCF is 23-5 at the venue. Before the team fell to Memphis on Jan. 10, the Knights had won 12-consecutive contests at the UCF Arena.

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

Hot Streak
Some additional notes on the four-game winning streak:
? Jermaine Taylor has averaged 25.6 points on 52.2 percent shooting
? Taylor Young has dished out 28 assists with only three turnovers
? A.J. Rompza has totaled 33 assists with just 10 turnovers
? During the span, A.J. Tyler has averaged 9.2 points and 5.2 boards
? The sophomore has shot 60.9 percent from the field and has connected on all 15 of his free-throw attempts

70 Something
? The Knights have scored at least 70 points in five-consecutive contests. On the year, the team is 7-0 when scoring 70 points or more.

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 paces C-USA in the three major shooting percentage categories: field goal (46.5), 3-point field goal (37.4) and free throw (73.8). The squad is 54th nationally in field goal percentage and 49th from 3-point range.
? In conference action, the Knights pace the league in both field goal (49.2) and free-throw percentage (84.7). The squad is second behind-the-arc, making 38.9 percent of its tries from 3-point range.

Getting Defensive
? UCF is getting it done on both sides of the court in Conference USA play. The Knights are limiting league foes to just 62.0 points per outing, good for tops in the conference. Foes are shooting a league-low 38.5 percent overall versus the Knights.

Foot Loose
? Before the 2008-09 campaign, the 3-point line was moved back a foot. The change has had no impact on the Knights. In fact, UCF is shooting better from deep this season compared to a year ago. After shooting 36.3 percent from 3-point range in 2007-08, the team is making 37.5 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 59-of-141 (41.8 percent) of his attempts.

You Don't Know the Half
? UCF fans should feel confident if the Knights take a lead into halftime against Houston. At home this year, UCF is 10-1 when leading at the break. The squad is enjoying a +9.3 first-half scoring margin in Orlando. The Knights are shooting 51.6 percent overall and 42.6 percent from deep before intermission at the UCF Arena.

Crowded House
? Playing inside the cozy old UCF Arena in 2006-07, the Knights averaged 2,706 spectators per game. Two years later, UCF has one of the nation's finest facilities in the new UCF Arena and is playing in front of an average of 4,289 fans. That mark ranks third among the 13 Division I programs in Florida. UCF trails only Florida and Florida State and is averaging more spectators than Miami (4,133) and USF (3,756).

Handle with Care
? UCF's starting shooting guard, Taylor Young, leads the nation with a 3.67 assist/turnover ratio. The redshirt sophomore has recorded 77 assists with just 21 turnovers this year.
? Young has been extra careful in C-USA play. In seven games, he has totaled 35 assists with just three turnovers, and holds an unbelievable 11.67 assist/turnover ratio.

Major Impact
? As a redshirt freshman, Taylor Young appeared in 24 games, averaging 6.0 minutes as a reserve guard. Now in his third year in the program, the Orlando native is making a major impact with the Knights. He has started all 21 games in 2008-09 and is averaging 4.0 points and 3.6 assists in 20.7 minutes an outing.

Sharing the Rock
? Thanks to A.J. Rompza and Taylor Young, the Knights pace Conference USA and are 20th in the country in assists, averaging 16.5 a contest. Four Knights have dished out over 25 assists on the year, led by Rompza with 110.
? In C-USA play, the Knights are averaging a conference-best 17.0 assists.

Stepping Up
? 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 8.9 points and 4.9 rebounds. He is shooting 63.6 percent overall and has made all 17 of his free-throw attempts in C-USA play, which leads the league. Tyler has three double-digit scoring performances in conference action. At Tulane Saturday, the forward scored 10 points and went 6-of-6 at the charity stripe in 26 minutes off of the bench.

Pass it On
? A.J. Rompza is third in Conference USA and 44th nationally, recording 5.2 assists per game. His 2.29 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 all 21 of UCF's games and has already registered 110 assists. A year ago, Chip Cartwright paced the squad with 107 assists on the season.

On Target
? UCF's starting center, Kenrick Zondervan, has been extremely accurate in league play. Against Conference USA foes, the native of Holland is shooting 64.9 percent from the floor as he has made 24-of-37 attempts. Zondervan is averaging 8.0 points in league play. He is 8-of-8 at the free-throw line.
? On the year, the senior is averaging 5.7 points on 64.5 percent shooting overall.

Welcome Freshman
? One of the youngest members of the UCF squad has been proving that Jermaine Taylor is not the Knights' only offensive threat. Isaac Sosa ranks third on the team in scoring at 8.8 points per game. The freshman shooting guard is averaging 19.4 minutes and has scored in double-figures eight times.

Three's Company
? Isaac Sosa has been accurate from 3-point range as a freshman. He is shooting at a 46.0 percent clip from deep, making 40-of-87 attempts. The Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, native is averaging 1.9 triples per game. Because he is averaging less than two 3-pointers, Sosa is not listed among the Conference USA leaders in the category. His percentage would rank first in the league.

Off the Blocks
? Tony Davis ranks eighth in UCF history with 71 career swats. Jeff Dorschner (1980-82) is seventh on the list with 83 blocked shots. Davis has totaled 20 blocks in 18 games played this season.

Jermaine Taylor Notes
Follow the Leader
? One of the premier players in the country, Jermaine Taylor ranks seventh nationally and first in Conference USA in scoring at 23.9 points per game. The shooting guard has led the Knights in scoring in 20 of the team's 21 contests in 2008-09. He has recorded 15 20-point performances and five 30-point showings.
? In league play, Taylor paces C-USA in scoring at 24.3 points per game.

One Shot
? Taylor, who is shooting 50.1 percent from the field, has been extremely accurate this season. He ranks fourth in Conference USA in field goal percentage and is the only player listed in the top 15 who has attempted more than 300 shots (371).
? Taylor is also the lone player listed in the top 10 nationally in scoring who is shooting over 48.0 percent overall. Stephen Curry of Davidson, who is tops in the country in points per game (29.0), is shooting 46.4 percent from the floor. Curry has also attempted 75 more field goals this year than Taylor.

Trey Songz
? Taylor is shooting 41.8 percent from 3-point range, good for second in the conference and 28th nationally. The senior is connecting on 2.8 treys per game, which ranks 44th in the nation.
? In Conference USA play, he is shooting 46.3 percent from deep.

Third Base
? After hitting five treys at Tulane Saturday, Taylor needs just three triples to become UCF's career leader in the category. Taylor has made 218 3-pointers as a Knight. Jason Thornton is the school's all-time leader, making 220 triples from 1998-02. Taylor has attempted a school record 564 triples during his career.

Moving Up the Charts
? During the season, Taylor has quickly moved up the UCF career scoring chart and now ranks fifth all-time with 1,668 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 12th on the Conference USA career scoring list. He needs 23 points to move to the 11th spot, which is currently occupied by Marquette's Brian Wardle, who scored 1,690 points from 1998-01.
? UTEP senior Stefon Jackson is the league's all-time leader in points with 2,035. Some of the big names on the top-15 list include Rodney Carney (Memphis), Travis Diener (Marquette) and Jason Maxiell (Cincinnati).

Efficient Efforts
? 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 23.9 points in only 30.8 minutes per contest.
? In 2008-09, Taylor has scored 501 points in only 647 minutes, giving him an average of 30.9 points per 40 minutes.

Local Love
? Taylor, who hails from Tavares, which is located just north of Orlando, has excelled at the UCF Arena this year. The senior is averaging 28.4 points at home. In Orlando, he is shooting 56.0 percent overall, 46.3 percent from deep and 85.0 percent at the free-throw line.