Men's Basketball to Host Albany Saturday

Nov. 27, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Off to a 4-1 start this season, the UCF men's basketball team will return to action Saturday, hosting Albany at 5 p.m. at the UCF Arena. Head coach Kirk Speraw's Knights have already registered impressive victories over Auburn and Massachusetts.

Last weekend, UCF went 2-1 at the Glenn Wilkes Classic in Daytona Beach, defeating Auburn and Drake. Junior forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and sophomore guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) both were named to the event's all-tournament team.

Sophomore guard Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) paces UCF in scoring at 13.8 points per game. The Knights are 2-0 at the UCF Arena this season.

Albany enters Saturday's contest 3-3 on the year. The Great Danes have posted wins over American, Alcorn State and Robert Morris.

A special "Pick Your Starting Five" ticket plan is currently available. The plan allows fans to select tickets to five games of their choice for as little as $45. To purchase the "Pick Your Starting Five Plan" today, call (407) UCF-1000 or visit UCFAthletics.com.

The UCF Arena box office will be open before the game. UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID.

At the game, fans will have the opportunity to reserve their ticket to UCF's football bowl game. Fans who reserve tickets will receive a free Knightmare t-shirt, while supplies last.

UCF-Albany will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Scott Adams will handle play-by-play duties, and will be joined by Mike O'Donnell.

Live video and statistics 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.

UCF-Albany Series Information
? UCF and Albany will be meeting for the first time
? The Knights are 5-3 all-time against current America East Conference programs
? UCF's last contest with an America East squad came Nov. 30, 2002, when the Knights posted a 72-55 win over Maine at the University Hoops Classic in New Orleans
? The Knights have not faced a program from New York since 2004, when Fordham participated in the UCF Holiday Classic

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will host Newberry Tuesday at the UCF Arena
? Newberry is coached by former UCF assistant Steve DeMeo

Last Time Out
? Last Sunday, UCF closed out the Glenn Wilkes Classic with a 59-50 win over Drake behind 15 points from Isaac Sosa, who shot 5-of-9 from 3-point range
? UCF held the Bulldogs scoreless for the last 6:08 of the contest
? The Knights shot 51.2 percent overall, and held Drake to a 31.0 percent shooting performance

Fun at the Beach
? UCF's first trip to Daytona Beach since 1997 was a success
? Last weekend, UCF went 2-1 at the Glenn Wilkes Classic, posting wins over Auburn and Drake
? The squad's lone loss came to Niagara
? The win over Auburn was UCF's first victory over an SEC program in 28 tries
? Both A.J. Rompza and A.J. Tyler earned spots on the all-tournament team at the event

Starting Strong
? UCF's 4-1 start is the best for the program since 2006-07, when the Knights began the campaign 6-0
? The Knights finished that year 22-9 overall

Getting Defensive
? A year ago, UCF's opponents shot 43.3 percent overall
? This season, the Knights have limited their opponents to 36.5 percent shooting from the field
? Foes are averaging just 62.6 points against the Knights, compared to 69.9 points in 2008-09

Homecourt Advantage
? After playing three games in Daytona Beach last weekend as part of the Glenn Wilkes Classic, the Knights should be happy to be back at the UCF Arena
? In two games at home this season, the Knights are shooting 46.0 percent overall, 46.2 percent from 3-point range and are averaging 76.0 points
? At the Glenn Wilkes Classic, UCF shot 43.9 percent from the field, but shot just 24.5 percent from deep and averaged only 63.0 points per game

Approaching History
? Kirk Speraw is approaching history at UCF
? In his 17th year with the Knights, Speraw has 268 victories at UCF and needs only seven to become the winningest coach in program history
? Torchy Clark, who coached the Knights from 1969-83, won 274 games in Orlando
? In his 20th year overall as a head coach, Speraw reached a milestone after Sunday's win over Drake
? The victory was the 350th of his career

Grab a Rebound
? UCF has outrebounded all five of its opponents this season and boasts a +7.0 rebound margin
? Last season, the Knights had a +1.9 rebound margin

Hands Off
? UCF has recorded just 79 fouls in five contests this year, compared to 108 for its foes
? As a result, the Knights are averaging 23.6 trips to the free-throw line, while their opponents are shooting just 15.0 foul shots per game

Balancing Act
? Last season, Jermaine Taylor ranked third nationally in scoring at 26.2 points per game
? The senior All-America pick handled the majority of the scoring duties for the Knights
? He led the squad in points in 29 of the Knights' 31 games
? With Taylor now in the NBA, UCF is clearly more balanced offensively this year
? Through five games, five Knights are averaging at least 8.0 points
? Three Knights - Isaac Sosa (2), A.J. Tyler (2) and Taylor Young - have paced the squad in points

Going Deep
? He might not get much recognition nationally, but Isaac Sosa is one of the premier 3-point shooters in the country
? For his career, the sophomore has made 72-of-156 attempts from deep
? His career 3-point field goal percentage (46.2) ranks second all-time at UCF and is also second in Conference USA history

Transfer of Power
? In his first year playing with the Knights after transferring from Clemson, A.J. Tyler averaged 7.1 points in 2008-09
? With the loss of Kenrick Zondervan to graduation, Tyler is now starting in the post and is averaging 10.0 points
? He has led the Knights in scoring on two occasions, including a career-best 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field in the win< over="" auburn="" at="" the="" glenn="" wilkes="">

Going Forward
? A year ago, Dave Diakite appeared in only five games at the start of the season before suffering a season-ending knee injury
? The redshirt freshman is now healthy, and is off to a strong start this season
? The small forward is averaging 8.0 points and a team-high 7.8 boards
? Diakite has already recorded a pair of double-doubles
? Most recently, he scored 12 points and added 10 boards in the win over Auburn in Daytona Beach

Rated Rookie
? Heralded freshman forward Keith Clanton has started his collegiate career in fine fashion
? Through five games, he is averaging 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 23.2 minutes as a reserve
? The Orlando native is shooting 64.3 percent from overall

Swat Team
? Jermaine Taylor led UCF last season with 24 blocks in 31 games
? Although only a freshman, Keith Clanton should quickly surpass that number
? Clanton has already totaled 10 swats in five games
? In UCF's win over Drake at the Glenn Wilkes Classic, the forward totaled four blocks

The Youngsters
? Through five games this year, UCF's underclassmen are responsible for 72.7 percent of the team's points
? Freshmen and sophomores have logged 76.2 percent of the squad's minutes

Tough Tests
? According to Kirk Speraw, UCF will face the toughest schedule in program history this year
? The slate includes 10 games versus foes who played in the postseason a year ago
? UCF already has wins over a pair of teams that were postseason participants last year - Auburn (NIT) and Drake (CollegeInsider.com)