Men's Basketball Hits the Road to Face Marshall

Feb. 26, 2010

Complete Release in PDF Format

By Doug Richards

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (UCFAthletics.com) - With the regular season nearing its conclusion, the UCF men's basketball team will return to action Saturday at Marshall. Tip-off for the Conference USA game from Cam Henderson Center is 7 p.m.

The Knights (13-14, 5-8 C-USA) have just three regular-season contests remaining. Marshall (21-7, 9-4) enters Saturday's matchup on a six-game winning streak.

Despite playing without its starting point guard, sophomore A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.), UCF nearly topped UAB Wednesday in Orlando before falling 53-49. The Knights trailed by 13 points in the opening half, and recovered to tie the game twice after intermission.

Rompza, who ranks fifth in the country in steals per game (2.8), will play against the Thundering Herd. Freshman guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) leads the squad in scoring in C-USA play at 10.5 points per contest. In each of the last six contests, sophomore guard Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) has hit at least three 3-pointers. He finished with a game-high 15 points against UAB.

Marshall is 13-2 at home this season. C-USA Freshman of the Year candidate Hassan Whiteside leads the nation in blocks and has totaled a league single-season record 146 this year. He is also averaging 13.2 points and 8.9 rebounds. The Herd lead C-USA in scoring at 79.3 points an outing and are shooting a league-best 47.9 percent from the field.

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

Live audio 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-Marshall Series Information
? The Thundering Herd have a 5-4 edge in the all-time series with the Knights
? In Huntington, the Thundering Herd have won three of four contests against UCF, and the four games have been decided by an average of just over six points
? In the most recent series matchup in West Virginia, Marshall held on for a 67-62 win on Feb. 28, 2009, despite 28 points from Jermaine Taylor
? The Knights had the chance to tie the game at 65 with five seconds remaining, but Taylor's 3-point attempt did not fall
? UCF and Marshall met earlier this season on Jan. 13 and Marshall posted an 81-75 victory behind a triple-double (14 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks) from Hassan Whiteside
? The game was played in front of 9,460 fans, the second-largest crowd in UCF history
? Marcus Jordan made 7-of-9 attempts from the field and led the Knights with 19 points
? In three career games versus the Herd, A.J. Rompza is averaging 7.3 assists and A.J. Tyler is averaging 11.7 points

Up Next for the Knights
? The Knights will host East Carolina for their home finale Tuesday
? On Feb. 2, Taylor Young scored a career-high 16 points to help UCF to a 67-56 victory over the host Pirates
? UCF is 5-0 all-time against East Carolina in Orlando

Last Time Out
? The Knights rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit to tie the game twice after intermission, but could not complete the rally Wednesday as UAB held on for a 53-49 win at the UCF Arena
? Isaac Sosa led all players with 15 points for UCF

Tough Week
? Both of UCF's opponents this week are at the top of the Conference USA standings
? The two squads - UAB and Marshall - are a combined 43-12 overall this season, and 19-7 in league games

Balancing Act
? The Knights have the most-balanced offense in Conference USA as five UCF players are averaging at least 8.9 points in league games
? On the season, seven Knights have led the team in points - Isaac Sosa (7), A.J. Tyler (6), Keith Clanton (5), Marcus Jordan (4), A.J. Rompza (3), Taylor Young (2) and David Diakite
? No player has led the team in scoring in more than two-consecutive games
? Last year, Jermaine Taylor averaged 26.2 points and led the Knights in scoring in 29 of the team's 31 games
? The All-America selection finished the campaign third nationally in scoring and was one of only three UCF players to pace the squad in points

Handle with Care
? Despite playing without starting point guard A.J. Rompza, the Knights committed just eight turnovers Wednesday against UAB
? Taylor Young ran the UCF offense and registered six assists with just one turnover

Pass the Buck
? Saturday's contest in West Virginia will pit two of the most unselfish squads in Conference USA
? In league play, the Knights are tied for second in C-USA with 13.8 assists per contest
? Marshall leads the conference in the category (14.8)

Keeping it Close
? February has been filled with close contests for the Knights
? UCF's three victories during the month have come by an average of 7.3 points
? The team's three losses in February have come by an average of 6.7 points

Men of Steal
? Last season, UCF recorded 213 steals in 31 contests
? In 2009-10, the Knights have already totaled 213 swipes in 27 games
? The Knights are fifth in Conference USA in steals per game at 7.9

Chairman of the Board
? In addition to scoring 13 points, Keith Clanton grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds versus UAB Wednesday
? The 15 rebounds were the most by a Knight in a league game since UCF joined Conference USA in 2005, and were the most by a UCF player since Paul Reed grabbed 20 at Marist on Dec. 22, 2001
? His 180 boards place him second on the UCF freshman single-season Division I rebounds list, trailing Ken Leeks (268, 1990-91)

The Block is Hot
? Keith Clanton blocked four shots against UAB and has 42 swats on the year, which places him eighth on the UCF single-season blocks list

League Leader
? In Conference USA play, Marcus Jordan is averaging a team-high 10.5 points
? Along with Rice's Tamir Jackson and Tulane's Kendall Timmons, he is one of just three C-USA freshmen who pace their team in points in league play

Away Team
? Marcus Jordan is UCF's top scorer on the road, averaging 11.1 points in hostile territory
? He is shooting 54.7 percent away from Orlando and has recorded six double-figure scoring performances on the road

Thief's Theme
? A.J. Rompza is fifth nationally in steals per game at 2.8
? In Conference USA action, he leads the league in the category (2.7)
? Rompza totaled 46 steals in 29 games last year, and already has 72 this season
?The Chicago native is seventh on the UCF single-season steals register

The Score
? 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 9.1 points
? After making 29.5 percent of his field goals last year, he is shooting 43.6 percent overall in 2009-10
? Rompza has scored in double-figures 13 times this season, compared to five times a year ago

Sharing is Caring
? In his last four games, A.J. Rompza recorded 23 assists with just five turnovers for an impressive 4.6 assist-turnover ratio
? He ranks seventh in Conference USA with 4.2 assists per game
? Just a sophomore, the Chicago native already ranks eighth in program history with 259 career assists

Numbers Game
? Isaac Sosa has led the Knights in scoring in two-consecutive games
? The sophomore has scored in double-figures in four-straight contests and has hit at least three 3-pointers in six-consecutive games

? Isaac Sosa has come alive in February, as he has connected on 19-of-42 (45.2) percent of his tries from deep, and has averaged a team-high 12.7 points
? He struggled with his shooting touch in January, as he shot just 21.4 percent (6-of-28) from 3-point range and averaged 5.5 points during the month
? Sosa, who is averaging 10.3 points, has made 59-of-140 3-point tries in 2009-10, and his 3-point field-goal percentage (42.1) ranks second in Conference USA
? The sophomore has made 116-of-266 (43.0 percent) 3-point attempts during his UCF career