UCF to Face C-USA Challenge at Tulsa

Jan. 15, 2010

Complete Release in PDF Format

By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will face one of the top squads in Conference USA Saturday when the Knights meet host Tulsa at 8 p.m. Eastern at the Reynolds Center. The contest from Oklahoma will be televised live nationally on CBS College Sports.

The Knights (9-7, 1-1 C-USA) will be attempting end to a 19-game home winning streak for the Golden Hurricane (13-3, 3-0). This season, Tulsa is 11-0 at the Reynolds Center. The Golden Hurricane posted several big wins in non-conference action, including victories over Oklahoma State and Colorado.

Sophomore guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) is leading the Knights in scoring in C-USA play, averaging 12.5 points to go with 6.0 assists. Rompza ranks fourth nationally in steals at 3.0 per game. Against Marshall on Wednesday, freshman guard Marcus Jordan (Highland Park, Ill.) registered a season-best 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting. This season, Jordan is averaging a team-high 11.5 points on the road.

C-USA Preseason Player of the Year Jerome Jordan is averaging 13.9 points and 8.1 rebounds for Tulsa. The center is second in the league in blocks per game (3.0). Ben Uzoh is the squad's top scorer at 16.9 points an outing.

On the CBS College Sports broadcast, Dave Ryan will serve as the play-by-play voice, and will be joined by Pete Gillen.

Marc Daniels will have the call on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Live audio will be available at UCFAthletics.com.

The game will be the first of two in a row on the road for the Knights, who will play at Houston Wednesday. The squad's next home game is Jan. 23 versus UTEP.

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-Tulsa Series Information
? UCF will be looking for its first victory in Tulsa
? The Knights are 4-0 versus the Golden Hurricane in Orlando, but 0-5 at Tulsa, including an 0-3 mark since both programs joined Conference USA in 2005
? The Golden Hurricane have a 4-5 edge in the all-time series
? In the matchup last year in Tulsa, the hosts posted a 79-70 victory on March 4, 2009, despite 29 points from Jermaine Taylor
? Jerome Jordan scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half to help Tulsa hold off the Knights
? In the other series contest last season, A.J. Rompza hit a jumper in the lane with less than a second remaining to give UCF a comeback victory over visiting Tulsa on Feb. 14, 2009
? The Knights trailed by 17 points with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, but rallied as Taylor recorded 22 of his game-high 35 points after intermission

Up Next for the Knights
? The Knights will have another tough road contest Wednesday when the squad plays at Houston
? The Cougars, who are 9-7 overall and 2-1 in conference play, won both series matchups with UCF last season

Last Time Out
? Playing in front of 9,460 fans - the second-largest crowd in UCF history - the Knights were unable to hold onto a nine-point halftime lead and fell 81-75 to Marshall Wednesday despite a season-best 19 points from Marcus Jordan
? The Thundering Herd, who got a triple-double (14 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks) from Hassan Whiteside, used a 20-6 run midway through the second half to post the victory

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, all at the club and Division II level
? 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

Sharing the Rock
? Through two Conference USA contests, the Knights are averaging 17.5 assists, which leads the league
? In 14 non-league games, UCF averaged 14.4 assists
? On the year, the team is third in the conference in assists per game (14.8)

Handle with Care
? The Knights are also taking care of the ball in league play, as their +7.0 turnover margin and 1.9 assist/turnover ratio leads the conference
? In two Conference USA games, UCF has committed just 18 turnovers

Going Deep
? During non-conference play, the Knights did not rely on the three-ball, attempting just 14.1 3-pointers per contest
? UCF is shooting the ball more often from deep lately, having attempted 23 treys in each of its Conference USA games
? The Knights are making 10.0 triples per game in conference play, which leads the league

Man of Steal
? 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 48 this season
? In Conference USA play, the Chicago native is averaging 4.0 swipes

The Tipping Point
? A.J. Rompza scored in double figures in each of UCF's last three contests, averaging 13.7 points versus No. 14 Ole Miss, Rice and Marshall
? Five of his 14 3-pointers this season came during the trio of games
? When Rompza totaled a career-best 16 points at Ole Miss, it marked the first time during his career that he had paced the team in scoring

Fantastic Freshman
? Marcus Jordan had one of the best performances of his freshman campaign Wednesday, recording a season-best 19 points versus Marshall
? In his second collegiate start, Jordan shot 7-of-9 overall, made all three of his 3-point attempts, and also registered five rebounds, four assists and 31 steals in a career-high two minutes
? Jordan is averaging 6.3 points and 2.9 boards on the year, and has upped his scoring average to 12.0 points in league play

Road Warrior
? Most of Marcus Jordan's top individual outings this season have not only come against the most recognizable names on UCF's schedule, the performances have also been on the road
? In games at three BIG EAST schools (Notre Dame, USF, No. 14 UConn) and at No. 14 Ole Miss, Jordan averaged a team-high 11.5 points

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 eight games, and is averaging 9.1 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds on the season
? In his first Conference USA contest, he totaled a season-best 17 points last 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