Men's Basketball, USF to Clash at UCF Arena Thursday

Nov. 17, 2010

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By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Off to a 2-0 start under new head coach Donnie Jones after a pair of impressive wins, the UCF men's basketball team will face a tough test Thursday when the Knights host cross-state rival USF at 7 p.m. at the UCF Arena. The Knights enter the game against the Bulls (1-1), which is presented by Holler-Classic, averaging 97.5 points per contest.

The contest, which will be aired live nationally on CBS College Sports, is being billed a "Blackout" as UCF fans are encouraged to wear black to the UCF Arena.

The Jones era certainly is off to a good start at UCF. His team most recently crushed Jackson State, 80-39, Monday and boasts a +47.5 scoring margin while shooting 63.6 percent overall. The Knights limited Jackson State to a Conference USA-record low 18.8 percent shooting from the floor. The 39 points allowed by the Knights were the second-fewest since UCF joined the Division I ranks in 1984.

The Knights have been led offensively by a pair of sophomores - guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) and forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.). Jordan is averaging 20.5 points and Clanton, who is shooting 85.7 percent overall, is averaging 18.0 points and a team-high 8.0 rebounds.

The Bulls, who participated in the postseason NIT a year ago, have been led by Jawanza Poland, who is averaging 13.5 points.

Season tickets, which include a free Knightmare t-shirt, are still available by calling (407) UCF-1000 or by visiting Ticketmaster.com. UCF students are admitted free to all home games with a valid school ID.

Jason Knapp will handle the play-by-play duties on CBS College Sports and will be joined by color commentator Pete Gillen. Bright House Sports Network will also simulcast the game in Orlando and Tampa.

In Orlando, the game can be heard on the UCF Sports Network from IMG College and its flagship station, 740 The Game. Marc Daniels will have the call, and former UCF standout guard Mike O'Donnell will provide insight on the contest.

Prior to the game, members of the UCF Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will be collecting canned food items to help those in need this holiday season.

Series Record USF, 19-5
Last Meeting USF 69, UCF 65 (Dec. 16, 2009 in Tampa)

? USF has a 19-5 edge in the series with the Knights, which dates back to 1972
? Last season, Dominique Jones scored 27 points to lift the host Bulls to a 69-65 win over the Knights at the Sun Dome
? Isaac Sosa led UCF with 14 points, and Marcus Jordan came off the bench to score 11 points in the loss
? In the last meeting in Orlando, Jermaine Taylor recorded 30 points as UCF beat USF 71-63 on Dec. 6, 2008 in front of 6,695 fans, which at the time was the second-largest crowd in UCF Arena history
? Jones, who averaged 29.3 points in three career games versus UCF, led the Bulls with 31 points
? The Knights faced three BIG EAST programs, all on the road, a year ago, but the Bulls are the only BIG EAST team that they will meet in 2010-11

A Quick Start
? After taking over the helm of the UCF program in late March, head coach Donnie Jones introduced an up-tempo style of play to the Knights
? That style of play has been evident early in the year as UCF is averaging 97.5 points after two games
? In 2009-10, the Knights ranked 226 out of 334 teams in the country in scoring at 66.7 points
? UCF is shooting the ball exceptionally well, connecting on 63.6 percent of its attempts from the floor and 43.6 percent of its tries from 3-point range
? Jones is hoping that the Knights can duplicate the offensive success that his Marshall team had a year ago when the Thundering Herd ranked ninth nationally in scoring at 79.9 points per contest

Getting Defensive
? The Knights' pressing defense has been successful so far this season
? The full-court pressure is a big reason why UCF is holding its foes to just 50.0 points and 27.5 percent shooting overall

The Half of It
? The Knights have gotten off to super starts in both of their games this year
? UCF is averaging 51.5 points in the first half this season on 65.4 percent shooting
? UCF failed to total over 51 points for the entire contest in five games last year

Follow the Leaders
? UCF has trailed for just 36 seconds in two games this season
? On Monday, Jackson State grabbed a 2-0 lead 14 seconds into the game, but the Knights quickly got a 3-pointer from A.J. Rompza to spark a 19-1 UCF run

A Memorable Debut
? The Knights made new head coach Donnie Jones' debut a memorable last Friday as UCF crushed visiting West Florida, 115-61
? Jones became just the third coach in UCF history to win his inaugural game at the school, joining Torchy Clark and Kirk Speraw
? The 115 points that the Knights scored were the most for UCF in a non-overtime game since the program joined the Division I ranks in 1984
? During Donnie Jones' three years at Marshall, the Thundering Herd only scored at least 115 points three times ? All three occasions came during the 2009-10 campaign, his final year at Marshall

Pass it On
? Donnie Jones has urged his team to make the extra pass, and the Knights have followed suit
? UCF is averaging 20.5 assists through two games this year

New Kids on the Block
? Thanks to newcomers Tom Herzog (8) and Dwight McCombs (5), UCF is averaging 8.5 blocks per game
? UCF swatted 10 shots versus Jackson State, good for third on the school single-game register
? The Knights averaged just 2.9 blocks in 2009-10

Super Sophomores
? In 2009-10, Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan were both named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team
? The pair has started their second collegiate seasons in strong fashion, averaging a combined 38.5 points on 80.0 percent shooting this season
? The sophomores both established career highs for scoring last Friday versus West Florida as Jordan recorded 28 points, and Clanton scored 24 points

Better Days
? Marcus Jordan worked hard during the offseason to improve his shooting touch, and his hard work is paying off at the start of this season
? Jordan, who is averaging a team-best 20.5 points, has made 12-of-16 (75.0 percent) of his attempts from the field, 5-of-8 (62.5) of his tries from deep and 12-of-15 (80.0) of his free-throw attempts
? As a freshman, he shot 41.3 percent overall, 27.6 percent from deep and 69.8 percent at the line

Sure Shot
? Keith Clanton is averaging 18.0 points on the year thanks to some incredible shooting
? The Orlando native has missed just two field goals in two games for the Knights
? He has made 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) of his field goal attempts

Big Against the BIG EAST
? Marcus Jordan, who averaged 8.0 points in 2009-10, played exceptionally well against BIG EAST teams
? In three games against BIG EAST programs (Notre Dame, No. 14 UConn, USF), he averaged 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 61.9 percent overall

A Big Impact
? Donnie Jones added a pair of talented transfer post players during the summer, and both Tom Herzog and Dwight McCombs have had solid debuts for the Knights, especially on the defensive end
? The pair has combined to block 13 shots in two games
? A junior-college transfer, McCombs is averaging 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds
? Herzog, a fifth-year senior who spent the last four years at Michigan State, is averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 boards

Formidable Foes
? The game against USF is one of 15 for the Knights this campaign against teams that participated in the postseason last spring
? The Bulls competed in the postseason NIT a year ago, as did Jackson State, who the Knights defeated earlier the week

Up Next
? UCF will not have to travel far for its first road contest of the year when the Knights face host Stetson Tuesday
? The programs have met 35 times, but the Knights have not played in nearby DeLand since 2005