Knights Return Home to Host UTEP

Jan. 22, 2010

Complete Release in PDF Format

By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Coming off a big victory at Houston, the UCF men's basketball team will host another squad that recently posted an impressive Conference USA win when UTEP visits the UCF Arena for a 5 p.m. contest Saturday. Earlier in the week, the Miners snapped Memphis' 64-game league winning streak by defeating the host Tigers.

After a 78-71 win at Houston Wednesday, the Knights are 10-8 overall and 2-2 in league play. The Miners, who boast wins over Oklahoma and New Mexico State, are 12-5 on the year, and 3-1 in C-USA games.

Freshman guard Marcus Jordan (Highland Park, Ill.) registered a season-best 23 points at Houston on 9-of-9 shooting. Jordan is averaging 13.0 points in league play. In his last home game, he led the Knights with 19 points versus Marshall. His former high school teammate, sophomore guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) leads the team in scoring during C-USA play at 13.5 points.

UTEP is led by Randy Culpepper, who is averaging 16.1 points, and Derrick Caracter, who is averaging 13.7 points and a team-high 8.2 rebounds.

Before the game, members of the UCF Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will be at the arena, collecting donations and non-perishable items for those affected by the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. All collected resources will be donated into the relief effort through the Clean the World Foundation and Harvest Time International organizations.

Tickets for the game start at just $5, and the UCF ticket office will be open before the game on Saturday. All UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID. The contest will serve as Youth Leagues Day at UCF, with events planned for young basketball players. For more information about the event, or to purchase group tickets, contact the UCF ticket sales office at (407) UCF-1000.

The game is presented by sponsor Holler-Classic.

Bright House Sports Network will televise the game in central Florida, with Bernie Guenther doing the play-by-play and former UCF standout guard Mike O'Donnell providing color commentary. CSS will also broadcast the game throughout the southeast.

UCF-UTEP will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from the UCF Arena. 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.

UCF-UTEP Series Information
? The Knights own a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series with UTEP, and are 2-0 against the Miners in Orlando
? In the most recent meeting at the UCF Arena, the Knights shot 70.2 percent overall, tying a school record, in a 109-80 victory over UTEP on Jan. 23, 2008
? The 109 points was the fourth-highest output in league play in Conference USA history
? The hosts led 56-31 at the half and made 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) of their 3-point field goal attempts for the game
? Jermaine Taylor paced UCF with 24 points, and Mike O'Donnell connected on all six of his 3-point attempts and finished with 19 points in the win
? On Feb. 11, 2009, UTEP posted a 73-68 win over the Knights despite 38 points from Taylor
? The Miners received 25 points from Randy Culpepper and 22 points from Stefon Jackson

Up Next for the Knights
? The Knights will return to the road Wednesday to face SMU in Dallas
? The all-time series is tied 2-2, but UCF has never beaten the Mustangs in Texas

Last Time Out
? UCF raced out to a big lead, and then withstood a late Houston rally to post a big 78-71 victory over the host Cougars Wednesday
? The Knights, who shot 50.9 percent overall, had four players finish with double-digits in scoring, led by Marcus Jordan with a career-high 23 points
? UCF limited the Cougars to just a 25.4 percent overall shooting performance

? UCF's Isaac Sosa and UTEP's Arnett Moultrie played in the FIBA U19 World Championship this past summer in Auckland, New Zealand
? Sosa averaged 9.6 points for Puerto Rico, and Moultrie averaged 4.4 points for the United States

History in the Making
? The win over Houston on Wednesday was the 274th victory at UCF for head coach Kirk Speraw, who is tied with Torchy Clark for the most wins in school history
? Clark, who coached the Knights from 1969-83, recorded the majority of his wins at the Division II level
? The 2006-07 Conference USA Coach of the Year, Speraw is in his 17th year at UCF, where he has led the program to four NCAA Tournament appearances

The Orlando 500
? Kirk Speraw has coached in 498 contests during his time at UCF
? The Knights' Jan. 27 tilt at SMU will serve as his 500th game with the Knights

? Since Conference USA play began in early January, UCF has been led offensively by former high school backcourt mates A.J. Rompza and Marcus Jordan
? The two products from Whitney Young High School in Chicago have paced the Knights in scoring in three of four conference contests
? Rompza is averaging a team-best 13.5 points against C-USA foes, and Jordan is averaging 13.0 points

Home Court Advantage
? Since the Knights moved into the UCF Arena in 2007, UCF is 12-5 in Conference USA home games
? The Knights were 5-3 in conference action in Orlando a year ago
? Overall, UCF is 32-9 at home since the arena opened

Fuller House
? The last time that the Knights played at home, 9,460 fans - the second-largest crowd in school history - watched the team host Marshall on Jan. 13
? UCF is averaging 5,433 fans per game, over 1,000 more than the Knights averaged last year (4,390)

Sure Shot
? After making all nine of his attempts at Houston Wednesday, Marcus Jordan ranks first in Conference USA, shooting 68.0 percent from the field in league action
? The freshman has connected on 17-of-25 attempts overall, and is 5-of-7 from deep

High Five
? A.J. Rompza has scored in double-figures in UCF's last five games, averaging 14.0 points during the span
? The point guard established career highs twice during that time, first scoring 16 points at 14th-ranked Ole Miss on Jan. 5, and then scoring all 19 of his points in the second half at Tulsa 11 days later

Man of Steal
? A.J. Rompza ranks 11th nationally in steals, averaging 2.9 per game
? The sophomore totaled 46 steals in 29 games last year, and already has 50 this season

New Kid on the Block
? Keith Clanton leads the Knights with 32 blocks, and ranks fifth in Conference USA in swats per game (1.8)
? A year ago, guard Jermaine Taylor paced the Knights with 24 blocked shots in 31 games

Power Forward
? At Houston Wednesday, UCF received great performances from starting forwards A.J. Tyler and David Diakite
? The pair combined for 32 points and 18 rebounds as Tyler matched a career-best 19 points and nine boards, while Diakite just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds