Men's Basketball to Play at No. 14 UConn Sunday

Dec. 19, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - On Sunday, the UCF men's basketball team will face one of the nation's premier teams when the Knights play at 14th-ranked Connecticut. The contest will be played at the XL Center in Hartford, with tip-off set for 1 p.m.

The Knights (7-3) have already met two other BIG EAST programs this month, playing at Notre Dame and USF. Head coach Kirk Speraw's squad has already recorded a few notable wins on the year, including triumphs over Auburn and Massachusetts.

UCF will face its toughest test of the season Sunday. The Huskies are 6-2, and their two losses have come to a pair of nationally-ranked squads, No. 7 Duke and No. 4 Kentucky, on neutral courts. Four UConn players - Jerome Dyson (19.8), Kemba Walker (15.0), Stanley Robinson (14.8) and Gavin Edwards (12.1) - are averaging double-figures in points.

The Knights are relying on a balanced offense, with sophomore guard Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) leading the way at 12.5 points per game. Junior forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) is second on the squad in scoring (11.1) and freshman forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) is averaging 9.1 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds.

Sophomore guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) is fifth nationally, averaging 3.2 steals per game.

ESPN Regional is televising the contest. Bright House Networks Stadium will air the game live in central Florida. The telecast will also be available on ESPN360.com. John Rooke will handle play-by-play duties, and Ron Perry will provide color commentary.

UCF-UConn will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels will call all of the action from the XL Center.

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-UConn Series Information
? UCF and the Huskies will be meeting for the third time
? UConn has a 2-0 edge in the all-time series, but the contests were decided by a total of nine points
? In the most recent matchup, the Huskies escaped with an 85-82 win over the Knights on Dec. 28, 2007, at the UCF Arena
? The Knights trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, but got within three points with 11 seconds to go in the contest after two Jermaine Taylor free throws
? UConn's Craig Austrie when hit a pair of foul shots to secure the win
? Taylor led the Knights with 30 points, while Jerome Dyson paced UConn with 23 points
? The teams also met in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament in Worcester, Mass., and UConn held on for a 77-71 win
? Sunday's game is the first for the Knights in New England since the 2005 NCAA Tournament
? UCF has not played a game in Connecticut since 1986, when the Knights met Hartford

Conference Call
? The game at UConn is one of three during December at BIG EAST programs for UCF
? The Knights' last contest before meeting the Huskies was this past Wednesday at USF
? On Dec. 6, UCF battled host Notre Dame - the score was tied at 41 at halftime - before falling 90-72
? UCF has now faced at least one BIG EAST program in three-straight years

Up Next for the Knights
? The Knights will have a long break for Christmas as the team's next contest is Dec. 29 against visiting Liberty to open the UCF Holiday Classic

Last Time Out
? The Knights dropped a tough 69-65 contest at cross-state rival USF Wednesday in Tampa
? Isaac Sosa hit four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 14 points for UCF

Numbers Game
? UCF will be facing a nationally-ranked squad for the first time since Feb. 9, 2008, when the Knights played at No. 1 Memphis

The Veterans
? UCF-UConn will feature two of the nation's most-tenured coaches
? Jim Calhoun is in his 24th year with the Huskies, while Kirk Speraw is in his 17th season at UCF

Approaching History
? In his 17th year with the Knights, Kirk Speraw has 271 victories at UCF and needs only four to become the winningest coach in program history
? Torchy Clark, who coached the Knights from 1969-83, won 274 games in Orlando
? The 2006-07 Conference USA Coach of the Year, Speraw has led the Knights to the NCAA Tournament on four occasions
? He is one of only 14 coaches in the country who have spent at least 16-straight years at their current school

It Takes a Thief
? A.J. Rompza ranks fifth nationally in steals, averaging 3.2 per game
? In UCF's last four contests, he totaled 17 steals
? The sophomore grabbed 46 steals in 29 games last year, and already has 32 swipes in 2009-10

The Dish
? A.J. Rompza enters the UConn game needing just nine assists to hit the 200-assist mark for his career
? He is averaging 3.4 assists this season, and has 191 as a Knight

The Fresh Prince
? Considered the best recruit in program history, Keith Clanton has made an immediate impact as a freshman
? The Orlando native entered the UCF starting lineup on Dec. 12 versus Bethune-Cookman and is averaging 9.1 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds on the year
? Clanton finished his senior campaign at Orlando Christian Prep as the 68th-best senior in the country according to Rivals.com ? He is shooting 58.7 percent from the field
? The freshman had his best game of the year at Notre Dame on Dec. 6, totaling 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and a team-best seven rebounds in 28 minutes

Playing Big Against the BIG EAST
? Marcus Jordan has enjoyed playing at BIG EAST opponents as a freshman
? In games against Notre Dame and USF, he has averaged 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds
? Jordan is shooting 72.7 percent (8-of-11) overall and has hit all three of his attempts from 3-point range against BIG EAST teams
? Jordan, who was listed as the 115th-best senior in the country a year ago by HoopScoop at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, is averaging 4.3 points in 18.1 minutes per contest

Triple Play
? Opponents are shooting just 28.4 percent from 3-point range against the Knights, good for second in Conference USA
? No UCF foe has shoot better than 33.3 percent from deep this season

In Reserve
? At USF on Wednesday, UCF's bench outscored the Bulls' reserves, 21-3
? On the season, the UCF bench is averaging 24.2 points, compared to 15.0 for the Knights' opponents