Looking Back at UCF's Top C-USA Performances

July 6, 2010

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By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - On July 1, 2005, UCF officially joined Conference USA. The move to C-USA was especially significant for the Knights' men's basketball program, as UCF became a member of one of the top-10 leagues in the nation.

UCF had spent the previous 12 campaigns in the Atlantic Sun, and had dominated the conference at the end of its tenure. The Knights claimed A-Sun Championship titles in both 2004 and 2005 and earned spots in the NCAA Tournament.

UCF joined C-USA along with five other new members: Marshall, Rice, SMU, Tulsa and UTEP.

With five years of C-USA play in the books, below is a list of the program's top individual performances in league action:

12. Marcus Jordan at Houston (1/20/10): The freshman guard really was perfect in UCF's victory over the host Cougars. Jordan made all nine of his field-goal attempts and finished with a season-high 23 points. He hurt Houston both inside and outside. The Chicago native nailed long jumpers, and also drove to the basket. The contest was a coming out party of sorts for Jordan, who along with forward Keith Clanton, earned C-USA All-Freshman Team honors at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season.

11. A.J. Rompza at Marshall (2/27/10): Rompza scored just five points against the Thundering Herd, but still finds his name on this list. In one of the best games in C-USA history, UCF trailed by 17 points at halftime. Final score: Marshall 121, UCF 115 in three overtimes. Rompza's gutsy play at point guard was a big reason that UCF battled the bigger, stronger Herd until the final buzzer. He tied a school record by logging 51 minutes and dished out 13 assists with only two turnovers. Rompza did not need to score in order for the Knights to have success offensively as he frequently got the ball to Taylor Young (23 points), Keith Clanton (20 points) and Isaac Sosa (20 points).

10. Lavell Payne at Houston (1/24/07): Payne made 6-of-10 shots from the field against the Cougars, but did his real damage at the free-throw line. The power forward got to the charity stripe 16 times and hit 13 shots on his way to 26 points. The 13 foul shots tied for sixth in UCF single-game history.

9. Justin Rose at Rice (2/25/06): One of the most gifted athletes in school history, Rose proved his versatility in the win over the host Owls. He shot 9-of-11 overall and led all players with 22 points. The shooting guard also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, dished out a team-best six assists and had a pair of blocks in 35 minutes.

8. Mike O'Donnell vs. UTEP (3/4/06): O'Donnell always seemed to play well against the Miners, and this game was no exception. On his way to 23 points in the victory at the old UCF Arena, the guard made all six of his 3-point field goal attempts. Two years later versus UTEP in Orlando, O'Donnell matched the performance by making 6-of-6 tries from deep in a big UCF victory.

7. Jermaine Taylor vs. Marshall (2/6/08): Taylor scored a then career-high 34 points in the triumph over the Thundering Herd, and with a basket in the second half, became the 14th 1,000-point scorer in school history. He shot 14-of-23 from the field, and made more than half of the Knights' field goals for the game.

6. Josh Peppers at East Carolina (2/7/07): Peppers had plenty of big games during his UCF career, but his performance in the win over the host Pirates might have been his most accurate. He scored a game-high 24 points and made 9-of-10 attempts from the field. The Memphis native connected on 4-of-5 shots from 3-point range. His performance was especially impressive considering he played just 28 minutes.

5. Jermaine Taylor vs. Rice (2/25/09): Taylor nearly defeated the Owls by himself, but ultimately, his career-high 45 points were not enough for the Knights to post the win. He went to the free-throw line 13 times and hit 12 foul shots. The 45 points were the most scored by a Knight since the program moved to the Division I level in 1984. Taylor shot 14-of-29 from the field.

4. Dave Noel at Rice (2/7/2007): Rice's Morris Almond entered the contest against the visiting Knights third nationally, averaging 27.8 points. The dynamic perimeter player, who went on to become a first-round NBA Draft pick, was held in check by Noel, UCF's lock-down defender. Noel helped limit Almond to only 13 points, including just two after halftime, as the Knights' picked up a big C-USA road win. Noel also had a strong game offensively, finishing with 16 points. He made all 10 of his free-throw attempts in the second half and went 11-of-12 at the line for the game.

3. Jermaine Taylor vs. Tulsa (2/14/2009): The Knights trailed Tulsa by 17 points with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, but Taylor brought his team back. He scored 22 of his game-high 35 points after intermission as UCF rallied for a 74-72 win when A.J. Romzpa hit a jumper in the lane with less than a second remaining. In the first half, Taylor became UCF's all-time leading scorer at the Division I level. In 35 minutes against the Golden Hurricane, he shot 10-of-21, hit five 3-pointers and went 10-of-12 at the free-throw line.

2. Anthony Williams at Houston (1/14/2006): Williams' strong performance helped the Knights claim their first C-USA win in only their second league game. The power forward totaled 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting. Williams also recorded nine rebounds and blocked five shots in only 32 minutes against the Cougars.

1. Jermaine Taylor vs. East Carolina (3/7/2009): Taylor saved one of the best performances of his career for his final home game. Just days before receiving the C-USA Player of the Year award, he scored 27 of his game-high 36 points after intermission to help UCF overcome a 17-point deficit and post a 74-71 win over the Pirates. East Carolina led by 17 points with 18:17 to play in the second half. Taylor connected on four 3-pointers after intermission and also grabbed eight rebounds in the win.

The UCF ticket sales office is currently accepting season-ticket deposits for the 2010-11 campaign at (407) UCF-1000 or online at UCFAthletics.com. By placing their deposit now, fans will receive a free 2010-11 NIKE Knightmare t-shirt with their ticket purchase. Season tickets start at just $99.