UCF to Host Marshall in Key Early C-USA Contest

Jan. 12, 2010

Complete Release in PDF Format

By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Off to a 1-0 start in league play, the UCF men's basketball team will host Marshall for a key Conference USA game Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the UCF Arena. The contest, which is presented by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida, will feature a halftime performance from the world-famous Blue Man Group.

The game will be broadcast live nationally on CBS College Sports.

UCF (9-6, 1-0 C-USA) won its conference debut Saturday, topping visiting Rice 77-58 behind a season-best 17 points from freshman forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.). On the year, Clanton is averaging 9.3 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds.

Sophomore guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) ranks fourth nationally in steals per game at 3.0. He totaled 13 points versus Rice, and is averaged 14.5 points in UCF's last two contests.

Marshall (13-2, 2-0) has won four-straight games. The Thundering Herd feature the nation's top shot blocker in Hassan Whiteside. The freshman has 77 swats in only 15 contests in 2009-10.

With seven C-USA home games remaining, UCF fans can still take advantage of the "Pick Your Starting Five" ticket plan. The plan allows fans to select lower bowl tickets to five games of their choice for as little at $45. To purchase the plan today, call (407) UCF-1000 or visit UCFAthletics.com.

On Wednesday, the UCF Arena box office will be open before the game. UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID. The first 3,000 students to enter the arena will receive a free Knightmare student section t-shirt.

On the CBS College Sports broadcast, Tom McCarthy is set to handle the play-by-play duties, and will be joined by color commentator Pete Gillen.

The contest will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels and Mike O'Donnell will call all of the action from the UCF Arena. Live 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-Marshall Series Information
? UCF and Marshall have met eight times, with each team winning four games
? The Knights have a 3-1 edge in Orlando
? On Jan. 25, 2009, UCF rolled to an 87-69 win over the visiting Thundering Herd behind 27 points from Jermaine Taylor
? The Herd evened the season series on Feb. 28, 2009, in Huntington, W.Va., holding on for a 67-62 win
? In two contests versus Marshall last year, A.J. Tyler averaged 12.0 points, and Isaac Sosa hit four 3-pointers and averaged 9.0 points
? The home team has claimed the last five games in the series
? UCF and Marshall will meet in West Virginia on Feb. 27

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will play its first Conference USA road game of the season, facing host Tulsa on Saturday
? The contest will be televised live on CBS College Sports

Last Time Out
? Behind strong performances from Keith Clanton and A.J. Rompza, the Knights opened Conference USA play with a 77-58 win over visiting Rice Saturday
? Clanton totaled a career-best 17 points, and Rompza added 13 points, six assists, five boards and five steals for the Knights, who shot 53.6 percent overall
? The Owls led 19-10 nine minutes into the contest, but UCF head coach Kirk Speraw called a timeout, and his team then went on a 23-5 run to close the first half

UCF-Marshall Connections
? UCF's David Diakite attended the National Christian Academy, where he was high school teammates with Marshall's Antonio Haymon, a fellow native of Washington, D.C.
? Both P.J. Gaynor of UCF and Shaquille Johnson of Marshall hail from Jacksonville
? The pair played on the AAU level together for the Jacksonville Lee Bulls

Approaching History
? In his 17th year with the Knights, Kirk Speraw has 273 victories at UCF and needs only two to become the winningest coach in program history
? Torchy Clark, who coached the Knights from 1969-83, won 274 games in Orlando

The Orlando 500
? Kirk Speraw has coached in 495 contests during his time at UCF
? The Knights' Jan. 27 tilt at SMU will serve as his 500th game with the Knights

Home Court Advantage
? Since the Knights moved into the UCF Arena in 2007, UCF is 12-4 in Conference USA home games
? The Knights were 5-3 in conference action in Orlando a year ago
? UCF is 32-8 at home since the arena opened

In Reserve
? With Isaac Sosa moving to the bench for the first time this season, UCF's reserves totaled 36 points in the Knights' win over Rice Saturday
? Sosa registered eight points in 25 minutes, while P.J. Gaynor also scored eight points off the bench
? On the year, UCF's bench is averaging 23.7 points, compared to 15.7 for the opponent's reserves

Hometown Hero
? The most heralded recruit in program history, Keith Clanton has made an immediate impact in his first year with the Knights
? The Orlando native has started each of the team's last seven games, and is averaging 9.3 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds on the season
? Clanton is shooting 53.4 percent overall
? In his first Conference USA contest, he totaled a season-best 17 points Saturday on 7-of-9 shooting overall versus Rice
? Clanton finished his senior campaign at Orlando Christian Prep as the 68th-best senior in the country according to Rivals.com

League Love
? The 17 points scored by Keith Clanton in the win over Rice last Saturday were the most by a UCF rookie in a league game since the program joined Conference USA in 2005
? The previous high by a UCF freshman was 16, achieved by Isaac Sosa at Houston a year ago and Jermaine Taylor versus the Cougars at home in 2006

Off the Blocks
? Keith Clanton leads the Knights with 26 blocks, and ranks fifth in Conference USA in swats per game (1.7)
? A year ago, guard Jermaine Taylor led the Knights with 24 blocked shots in 31 games

Thief's Theme
? A.J. Rompza ranks fourth nationally in steals, averaging 3.0 per game
? The sophomore totaled 46 steals in 29 games last year, and already has 45 swipes in 2009-10
? On five occasions this year, Rompza has recorded five steals in a game

Little Big Man
? In UCF's last two outings, A.J. Rompza averaged 14.5 points on 45.8 percent shooting
? Rompza totaled 13 points in the win over Rice Saturday, and scored a career-high 16 points at 14th-ranked Ole Miss on Jan. 5
? The contest against the Rebels marked the first time during his career that the sophomore led the Knights in scoring

Score and Improve
? Last season, A.J. Rompza's main job was to get the ball to league player of the year Jermaine Taylor, who averaged 26.2 points
? As a result, Rompza averaged just 4.3 points to go with 5.2 assists an outing
? Without Taylor, the point guard is looking to score more this season and is averaging 9.0 points

Forward Pass
? A.J. Rompza is averaging 4.1 assists per game, good for eighth in Conference USA
? The sophomore has dished out 211 assists during his time at UCF
? During this season, Rompza should enter the top-10 all-time in the category at UCF
? Anthony Haynes (1989-91) and Calvin Lingelbach (1973-77) currently occupy the 10th spot with 244 assists

Big Games Against Big Teams
? Marcus Jordan has recorded his best contests of the year against the most recognizable names on UCF's schedule
? In games at three BIG EAST schools (Notre Dame, USF, No. 14 UConn) and versus two SEC programs (Auburn, at No. 14 Ole Miss), Jordan averaged 10.6 points in 24.4 minutes while shooting 63.3 percent overall, and 62.5 percent from deep
? Jordan has appeared in all 15 of the Knights' contests this year, and is averaging 5.4 points and 2.8 rebounds
? The best perimeter defender on the team, Jordan made his first career start Saturday versus Rice

Triple Play
? He might not get much recognition nationally, but Isaac Sosa is one of the premier 3-point shooters in the country
? This season, Sosa is first in Conference USA in 3-point field goal percentage (47.4)
? As a Knight, the sophomore has made 93-of-202 attempts from deep
? His career 3-point field goal percentage (46.0) ranks second all-time at UCF (Edsel Bester, 47.4) and also second in C-USA history

On Target
? A.J. Tyler has made 30-of-36 free-throw attempts in 2009-10, and ranks third in Conference USA in free-throw percentage (83.3)
? The junior has made all 13 of his free-throw attempts at home this year