Knights Return to the Road at SMU

Jan. 26, 2010

Complete Release in PDF Format

By Doug Richards

DALLAS (UCFAthletics.com) - One week after a big win over host Houston, the UCF men's basketball team will be back in action in Texas on Wednesday when the Knights meet SMU. Tip-off from Moody Coliseum is set for 8 p.m. Eastern.

UCF (10-9, 2-3 Conference USA) will be playing on the road for the third time in its last four games. Last Wednesday, freshman guard Marcus Jordan (Highland Park, Ill.) scored a career-best 23 points in the 78-71 victory over Houston.

Junior forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) is the team's leading scorer at 10.5 points. In C-USA play, sophomore guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) is averaging a team-high 13.4 points. Rompza also ranks fourth nationally in steals per game (2.9).

SMU is 8-10 overall and 1-3 in league play. Six of the Mustangs' eight victories have come at home. Derek Williams paces SMU in scoring at 16.8 points per game.

The contest will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando, with Marc Daniels on the call. Live audio 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-SMU Series Information
? UCF and the Mustangs have met four times, all since the programs joined Conference USA in 2005, with each school winning a pair of games at home
? A year ago, the host Knights rolled to a 70-45 victory over the Mustangs behind 22 points from Jermaine Taylor on Jan. 28, 2009
? A.J. Tyler added 10 points and A.J. Rompza dished out 11 assists in only 29 minutes in the winning effort
? Derek Williams led the Mustangs, who shot just 29.8 percent overall, with 17 points
? In the most recent matchup in Dallas (Jan. 26, 2008), SMU held on for a 69-67 overtime win
? Taylor scored a team-high 26 points, including a 3-pointer to send the game into an extra session, but was unable to force a second overtime when his tip-in off a lob did not fall as the buzzer sounded

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will be back home to host Tulsa Saturday
? The squads met on Jan. 16 and the host Golden Hurricane took a 90-70 victory

Last Time Out
? Randy Culpepper matched a Conference USA record with nine 3-pointers and scored 39 points Saturday as UTEP posted a 96-59 win over the Knights at the UCF Arena
? Keith Clanton scored a career-best 19 points for the Knights

Major Milestone
? Kirk Speraw will hit a major milestone when the Knights face SMU as the game will serve as his 500th contest as UCF's head coach
? Speraw, who is in his 17th year at UCF, took over the helm of the program before the 1993-94 campaign
? He is one of only 14 coaches in the country who have spent at least 16-straight years at their current school

History in the Making
? The win over Houston last 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

Texas Three Step
? In their first of three trips to Texas this season, the Knights picked up a big 78-71 win at Houston last Wednesday
? In addition to meeting the Mustangs, UCF will return to the state on March 6 to play at Rice
? SMU is the third-straight opponent from Texas for the Knights, who hosted UTEP on Saturday

Road Tripping
? The contest at SMU will serve as the Knights' fourth road game of the month
? UCF has played three home contests in January, but has not had back-to-back games in Orlando

Fresh Princes
? After Keith Clanton totaled a season-best 19 points Saturday versus UTEP, a freshman has led the Knights in scoring in four of the team's five Conference USA contests this year
? Clanton has paced the squad in points on two occasions, with Marcus Jordan leading in the other two games
? On the year, a rookie has led UCF in points seven times

Chi-State of Mind
? Since Conference USA play began in early January, UCF's top offensive threats have been former high school teammates A.J. Rompza and Marcus Jordan
? The duo played together at Whitney Young High School in Chicago, and have formed the Knights' starting backcourt since Jan. 9 when Jordan entered the lineup against Rice
? In C-USA action, the guards have combined to average 24.8 points, 5.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 4.0 steals and are shooting 50.0 percent overall and 62.5 percent from 3-point range

Fab Freshman
? Marcus Jordan has certainly picked up his game since conference play began earlier this month
? Jordan, who totaled a career-best 23 points at Houston Wednesday, has led the Knights in scoring in two of the squad's last four games
? The shooting guard, who entered the starting lineup on Jan. 9 when UCF hosted Rice, is averaging 11.4 points in league play, compared to 5.4 during the non-conference slate

Heading OT
? In UCF's last road contest, Marcus Jordan continued his season-long trend of excelling away from Orlando
? The freshman shot 9-of-9 from the field and registered a career-best 23 points in the Knights' win at Houston last Wednesday
? Jordan is averaging a team-high 12.3 points on the road, compared to 4.6 points at the UCF Arena

Nice Touch
? After struggling with his shot during the non-league portion of UCF's schedule, A.J. Tyler has found his touch in Conference USA play
? Tyler is averaging 11.0 points on 54.3 percent shooting against league opponents after shooting 43.8 percent overall in non-conference action
? In UCF's last two games, Tyler averaged 15.5 points on 58.3 percent shooting from the floor
? The forward also grabbed 8.5 boards per contest

Thief's Theme
? Against UTEP last Saturday, A.J. Rompza recorded a career-high six steals
? The sophomore now ranks fourth nationally in steals per game at 2.9
? In Conference USA games, Rompza leads the league in the category (3.2)
? Rompza totaled 46 steals in 29 games last year, and already has 56 this season

Still Sharing
? Despite his increased offensive output, A.J. Rompza is still sharing the ball
? The point guard is averaging 4.4 assists in league play, which ranks fourth in Conference USA
? During his career, Rompza has recorded 227 assists
? Later this season, he should enter the top 10 on the school's career assists list
? The 10th spot is currently occupied by Anthony Haynes (1989-91) and Calvin Lingelbach (1973-77) with 244

New Kid on the Block
? Keith Clanton leads the Knights with 34 blocks, and needs just five to enter the top 10 on UCF's single-season swats list
? A year ago, guard Jermaine Taylor paced the Knights with 24 blocked shots in 31 games
? In five Conference USA games, Clanton has blocked 11 shots, good for third in the league with 2.2 blocks an outing

Cleaning the Glass
? This season, nearly 40 percent of David Diakite's rebounds have come on the offensive end
? The redshirt freshman forward, who ranks second on the team with 5.5 boards per game, is averaging 2.2 offensive rebounds an outing