Men's Basketball to Conclude Regular Season at Rice

March 5, 2010

Complete Release in PDF Format

By Doug Richards

HOUSTON (UCFAthletics.com) - On Saturday, the UCF men's basketball team will conclude its regular season with a Conference USA contest at Rice. Tip-off from Tudor Fieldhouse is 3 p.m. Eastern.

After Saturday's game, the Knights (13-16, 5-10 C-USA) will participate in the Conference USA Championship, which will begin Wednesday at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. Rice enters Saturday's game 8-21 overall and 1-14 in league play.

The contest will feature four of the top freshmen in the conference. UCF's leading scorer in league play is guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) at 10.7 points. On the season, the rookie ranks second on the Knights in steals (34) and is third in assists (70). UCF's other talented rookie, forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.), is averaging 10.5 points and 6.5 boards against league foes.

Rice freshman Tamir Jackson is averaging a team-high 11.0 points, while fellow freshman Arsalan Kazemi is averaging 10.5 points and 9.0 boards. Kazemi has recorded nine double-doubles in 2009-10.

UCF and the Owls met earlier this season and the Knights took a 77-58 win on Jan. 9 at the UCF Arena.

UCF-Rice will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from Houston. Live statistics and 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-Rice Series Information
? UCF owns a 7-3 edge in the all-time series with the Owls, and are 3-0 versus Rice in Houston since both programs joined Conference USA in 2005
? The squads met on Jan. 9 in Orlando in the conference opener for both teams and the Knights won 77-58 behind 17 points from Keith Clanton
? UCF had a slow start, trailing by nine points early on, before coming back to take the victory
? The Knights shot 53.6 percent from the field, and also got 13 points, six assists and five steals from A.J. Rompza
? In the most recent series matchup in Houston, Jermaine Taylor scored a game-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting to lift the Knights to a 77-52 victory on Jan. 17, 2009
? In three career contests versus the Owls, Rompza is averaging 7.3 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 steals
? UCF's lone loss at Rice came Dec. 13, 1977, when the Owls escaped with a 65-63 victory over the Division II Knights

Up Next for the Knights
? UCF will begin play at the Conference USA Championship at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday
? The tournament will be held in Tulsa for the first time
? In each of the Knights' first four campaigns in C-USA, the event took place in Memphis, Tenn.

Last Time Out
? On Tuesday, East Carolina rallied for a 68-66 win over the Knights at the UCF Arena
? UCF led by nine points at the break, but the Pirates shot 62.5 percent overall and made 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) attempts from 3-point range after intermission

Houston Chronicle
? The Knights will be seeking their second victory in Houston this year after recording a 78-71 win over the Cougars on Jan. 16 at Hofheinz Pavilion
? Since joining Conference USA, the Knights have annually played at both Houston and Rice
? Only once, in 2005-06, has UCF won both of its games in Houston

Texas Ties
? The Knights have several ties to the city of Houston
? Former UCF guard Jermaine Taylor, the 2008-09 Conference USA Player of the Year, is a rookie with the Rockets
? Kevin Brown, a standout guard at Elsik High School in Houston, signed a National Letter of Intent with the Knights in the fall, and will join the program for the 2010-11 campaign

All Things Must Pass
? In the team's most recent two games, UCF recorded 47 assists and just 21 turnovers
? Against East Carolina on Tuesday, the Knights totaled 20 assists and nine turnovers
? In last Saturday's triple-overtime game at Marshall, UCF had 27 assists with 12 turnovers

EZ Pass
? In league games, the Knights rank first in Conference USA, averaging 15.1 assists per contest
? The Knights have dished out at least 20 assists in C-USA action four times this season
? UCF is the lone squad in the league with three players in the top 15 in assists in C-USA games: A.J. Rompza (5.1, 3rd), Marcus Jordan (3.0, 13th) and Taylor Young (2.7, 14th)

The Closer
? The Knights are 3-1 in regular-season finales since joining Conference USA in 2005
? The lone loss came on the road in 2007-08 to host Tulsa
? The game against the Golden Hurricane marked the Knights' lone road season finale in C-USA play

Getting Defensive
? UCF's steals and blocked shots totals are up from a year ago
? The Knights have recorded 230 steals this season, after totaling 213 in 31 games in 2008-09
? UCF has blocked 93 shots this year, compared to 88 last season

Major Minutes
? Thanks to UCF's triple-overtime contest at Marshall last Saturday, several Knights have logged major minutes as of late
? In UCF's last two games, A.J. Rompza averaged 43.0 minutes
? Against Marshall, he matched a school record by spending 51 minutes on the floor
? Marcus Jordan averaged 36.5 minutes during the Knights' last two contests, and Taylor Young averaged 33.0 minutes

Board Work
? Keith Clanton, who ranks 11th in Conference USA in rebounds per game at 6.9, has paced the Knights on the glass in three-straight contests, recording double-figures in rebounds in two of the three games
? If the season ended today, Clanton's rebounds per game average would be the highest recorded by a Knight since Roberto Morentin also averaged 6.9 in 2003-04
? Clanton has 199 rebounds in 2009-10, which places him second on UCF Division I freshman rebounds list behind Ken Leeks (268, 1990-91)

Getting Offensive
? In Conference USA play, Keith Clanton is averaging 2.7 offensive boards, good for fourth in the conference
? Forty-one of his 97 rebounds against conference foes have come on the offensive end

The Score
? Keith Clanton is UCF's third-leading scorer at 9.7 points
? The Orlando native has totaled 281 points, which places in him a tie for fifth with Kevin Lee (2000-01) on the school Division I freshman scoring list
? Up next on the list is Sinua Phillips in fourth at 313 points (1990-91)

Shoot and Improve
? In Conference USA play, Marcus Jordan is shooting 77.6 percent at the free-throw line, good for 13th in the league
? Jordan has shown great improvement on the line this season, as he shot just 56.0 percent at the charity stripe during the non-league portion of the team's schedule

On the Road Again
? Unlike most freshmen, Marcus Jordan has played better on the road than at home
? In 11 away games, Jordan is averaging 11.7 points on 50.0 percent shooting, compared to 6.3 points on 35.6 percent shooting in Orlando
? Seven of his 10 double-figure scoring performances have come on the road

Team Player
? Marcus Jordan totaled six assists with no turnovers against East Carolina Tuesday
? Jordan has totaled at least five assists on four occasions against league opponents
? He has dished out 70 assists in 2009-10, which ranks third on the team

The Dish
? In the Knights' last two games, Marcus Jordan registered 13 assists and only one turnover
? Against Marshall and East Carolina, the Chicago native posted an incredible 13.0 assist-turnover ratio

Thief's Theme
? A.J. Rompza is sixth nationally in steals per game at 2.7
? In Conference USA action, he leads the league in the category (2.6)
? Rompza totaled 46 steals in 29 games last year, and has 76 this season
?The Chicago native is sixth on the UCF single-season steals register

No Turnover
? At Marshall last Saturday, A.J. Rompza dished out 13 assists with just two turnovers
? He followed that performance with five assists and two turnovers against East Carolina
? In his last six games, Romzpa recorded 41 assists and only nine turnovers for a 4.6 assist-turnover ratio
? In league games, Rompza ranks first in Conference USA in assist-turnover ratio (2.8)
? On the year, he is sixth in the conference in assists per game with 4.5
? Just a sophomore, the Chicago native already ranks eighth in program history with 277 career assists

Hey Young World
? Taylor Young was UCF's top scoring threat in the team's last two games, averaging 19.0 points on 66.7 percent shooting from the floor
? Last Saturday, the redshirt junior established a career high with 23 points at Marshall
? He followed that performance with 15 points versus East Carolina
? Young made 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) of his triples in the two games