Knights to Meet Host East Carolina Saturday

Feb. 6, 2009

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will be seeking a return to its winning ways Saturday when the Knights meet host East Carolina in a Conference USA contest. Tip-off at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum is slated for 7 p.m.

The Knights (15-7, 5-3 C-USA) are currently tied for third in the C-USA standings. UCF fell to visiting Houston Wednesday, but has won four of its last five games.

Senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.) ranks seventh nationally in scoring at 24.0 points per game. The All-America candidate hit three 3-pointers against Houston to become UCF's career leader in the category with 221 triples.

East Carolina enters the game 11-10 overall and 3-5 in league play.

The contest will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from North Carolina. Pregame coverage will 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 East Carolina
? The Pirates are coming off of an 82-79 win over visiting Southern Miss Wednesday. Brock Young led the way with 17 points in the win. On the season, Young leads the nation in assists per game (7.7). Sam Hinnant is the team's top scorer at 15.2 points an outing.
? East Carolina is 8-4 at home in 2008-09. The Pirates rank fourth in Conference USA in scoring (74.1).

Series Information
? UCF is 9-0 all-time against the Pirates. Since the Knights entered Conference USA in 2005, Kirk Speraw's program is 7-0 versus East Carolina. All-time in Greenville, the Knights have defeated East Carolina on four occasions.
? Last year, UCF recorded a pair of wins over the Pirates, including a 71-66 victory on Jan. 19 in Greenville. Jermaine Taylor scored a then career-high 32 points in the win. He recorded 20 of his points in the first half as UCF raced out to a 36-23 edge at the break. East Carolina got within three points in the second half, but the Knights went 14-of-14 at the free-throw line in the last seven minutes of the game to hang on for the win.
? In two games against the Pirates in 2007-08, Taylor averaged 27.5 points on 68.9 percent shooting overall.
? The Knights have won eight-consecutive games in North Carolina. In each of the last three seasons, the squad has recorded a victory at East Carolina. From 2002-05, the Knights went 5-0 in the Tar Heel State, posting Atlantic Sun wins over Campbell (3) and Gardner-Webb (2).
? UCF and East Carolina will meet again in Orlando on March 7. The contest will serve as the regular-season finale for both squads.

? In each of their last two trips to East Carolina, the Knights have enjoyed some impressive shooting performances. A year ago, the team shot 93.8 percent at the free-throw line, making 15-of-16 attempts. The percentage tied for fourth on the school's single-game register. Ironically, the Knights made 15-of-16 attempts at the line in 2007 when they visited Greenville.
? During the 2007 contest, Josh Peppers recorded 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field. His shooting percentage tied for fourth on the UCF single-game list.

Last Time Out
? Jermaine Taylor totaled 26 points, but it was not enough as UCF saw its five-game winning streak come to an end as Houston posted a 97-69 win at the UCF Arena Wednesday. The contest was played in front of 5,868 fans, the fifth-largest crowd in school history. The Cougars led 43-28 at the break after shooting 47.1 percent overall in the opening 20 minutes.

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will head west to meet UTEP Wednesday evening. The Knights have a 3-1 edge in the all-time series and are 3-0 against the Miners since both programs joined Conference USA in 2005. UCF will be making just its second trip to El Paso since entering C-USA. On Jan. 27, 2007, Jermaine Taylor totaled 15 points off of the bench as UCF posted a 67-64 win over the host Miners. A 3-pointer from Mike O'Donnell with 2:19 to play was the difference.

Sweet 16
? When the Knights meet East Carolina, 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
? When the Knights face East Carolina, the squad will be in search of its fourth road victory of the season. In 2007-08, the squad only won three road games, all in C-USA play.
? The Knights enter the East Carolina game with a two-game road winning streak. Since joining C-USA, UCF has never won three-straight conference road contests.

Hitting the Freeway
? The fact that UCF currently leads Conference USA in free-throw percentage (73.4) should come to a surprise to those who watched the team play 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.

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 37.0 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 62-of-149 (41.6 percent) of his attempts.

You Don't Know the Half
? UCF fans should feel confident if the Knights take a lead into halftime against East Carolina. The Knights are 10-2 this year when leading at the break.

70 Something
? The Knights have been perfect this season when scoring at least 70 points. The squad has reached the mark on 14 occasions. UCF is 7-0 when scoring between 70-79 points, 6-0 when scoring between 80-89 points and 1-0 when scoring 90 or more points.

Three the Hard Way
? The Knights have made it tough for their opponents to connect from 3-point range in Conference USA play. The team's league foes are shooting just 29.1 percent from deep. That mark ranks third in the league.

Stepping Up
? Tony Davis put up big numbers against Houston on Wednesday. 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 fifth in the league in rebounds per game (8.4). In non-conference action, the Sarasota native averaged 4.7 rebounds.

Handle with Care
? UCF's starting shooting guard, Taylor Young, is second in Conference USA and among the top-10 nationally with a 3.25 assist/turnover ratio. The redshirt sophomore has recorded 78 assists with just 24 turnovers this year.
? Young has been extra careful in C-USA play. In eight games, he has totaled 36 assists with just six turnovers, and holds a 6.00 assist/turnover ratio.

Sharing the Rock
? Thanks to A.J. Rompza and Taylor Young, the Knights pace Conference USA and are among the national leaders in assists, averaging 16.1 a contest. Four Knights have dished out over 25 assists on the year, led by Rompza with 111.
? In C-USA play, the Knights are averaging a conference-best 15.8 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 4.6 rebounds. He is shooting 60.0 percent overall and has made 20-of-21 (95.2 percent) of his free-throw attempts, which leads the league. Tyler has three double-digit scoring performances in conference action. At Tulane on Jan. 31, 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 fourth in Conference USA, recording 5.1 assists per game. His 2.18 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 22 of UCF's games and has already registered 111 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 from the field this year. The native of Holland is shooting 62.7 percent overall as he has made 52-of-83 attempts. Against Conference USA foes, the senior is averaging 7.9 points and 5.1 boards. He is 9-of-9 at the free-throw line.
? On the year, Zondervan is averaging 5.8 points.

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 24.0 points per game. The shooting guard has led the Knights in scoring in 21 of the team's 22 contests in 2008-09. Taylor has paced the squad in points in 17-consecutive games. He has recorded 16 20-point performances and five 30-point showings.
? In league play, Taylor is second in C-USA in scoring at 24.5 points per game.

One Shot
? Taylor, who is shooting 50.0 percent from the field, has been extremely accurate this season. He ranks fifth in Conference USA in field goal percentage and is the only player listed in the top 15 who has attempted more than 305 shots (392).
? 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 (28.9), is shooting 46.4 percent from the floor. Curry has also attempted 54 more field goals this year than Taylor.

Trey Songz
? Taylor is shooting 41.6 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 2.8 treys per game.
? In Conference USA play, he is shooting 45.2 percent from deep.

Third Base
? Against Houston on Wednesday, Taylor connected on three triples to become UCF's career leader in 3-pointers. He has made 221 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 572 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 1,860 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 2,035. 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 24.0 points in only 30.8 minutes per contest.
? In 2008-09, Taylor has scored 527 points in only 677 minutes, giving him an average of 31.1 points per 40 minutes.
? Among the players listed in the top-10 in the country in scoring, Taylor is last in minutes per game. The other nine players on the list are all averaging at least 33.3 minutes an outing.

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.