UCF Taking 9-0 Mark to MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic to Meet Miami

Dec. 17, 2010

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By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Off to an undefeated start under new head coach Donnie Jones, the UCF men's basketball team will face a challenge Saturday when the Knights meet Miami at 1 p.m. at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise as part of the Orange Bowl Classic. The Knights, who at 9-0 are one of only 12 undefeated teams in the country, are currently receiving votes in both national polls.

The game will be televised live nationally on Fox Sports Net.

UCF's 9-0 start is the best for the program since the school moved to the Division I ranks in 1984. The Knights are on the verge of entering the top 25 nationally for the first time in school history. UCF is garnering 62 votes in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, placing the team unofficially at No. 26. The squad is also receiving 12 votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

Sophomore forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) is UCF's top scorer at 17.0 points per game. He is also averaging a team-best 9.0 rebounds and is shooting 58.5 percent from the field.

Miami (7-2) has already picked up impressive wins over Ole Miss and West Virginia this season. The Hurricanes are led by a pair of guards - Malcolm Grant (13.8 points per game) and Durand Scott (13.6). The contest is part of a doubleheader at the BankAtlantic Center. Kansas State will face Florida following the UCF-Miami matchup. On Dec. 1, UCF defeated the Gators, who were ranked 16th nationally, 57-54, at the new Amway Center in downtown Orlando.

Tickets for the Orange Bowl Classic are available through Ticketmaster.com.

UCF is hosting a pregame reception for Golden Knights Club members and all supporters at the BankAtlantic Center. Presented by TekPartners, the event will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Black Velvet Lounge. Fans can enter the arena through the South VIP entrance. The event will feature food (adults $10, children $5) and appearances by the UCF coaching staff. To RSVP for the event, call (407) 823-2086 or e-mail Nancy Sain in the Golden Knights Club at nsain@athletics.ucf.edu.

On the Fox Sports Net broadcast, Rich Waltz will handle the play-by-play, and Bob Wenzel will provide color commentary.

In Orlando, fans can listen to the game on the UCF Sports Network from IMG College and its flagship station, 740 The Game. Marc Daniels will have the call and will be joined by former UCF star guard Mike O'Donnell.

The contest begins a stretch of two-straight games away from Orlando for the Knights. After facing the Hurricanes, UCF will play at UMass Wednesday. The squad's next home contest is Dec. 29 when the Knights open the two-day UCF Holiday Classic against Furman.

Series Record Miami, 6-0
Last Meeting Miami 62, UCF 51 (Dec. 27, 2002, in Orlando)

? UCF and Miami will be meeting for the first time since 2002, and at that time, the Knights were members of the Atlantic Sun and Miami was a BIG EAST program
? The Knights have never met Miami on a neutral court
? UCF is 0-5 all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference teams, and has not met an ACC member since 1999 (Clemson)
? The Knights, who will be playing in south Florida for the first time since 2005 when they faced host Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, have never played a game in Broward County

Last Time Out
? Keith Clanton totaled a career-best 28 points to help UCF overcome a sluggish first half and defeat Louisiana, 79-58, at the UCF Arena Wednesday
? Dwight McCombs chipped in with 13 points and nine rebounds in the win
? UCF led 35-28 at the break, but then shot 53.8 percent after intermission to pull away for the big win

Fresh Start
? The Donnie Jones era at UCF certainly has had an impressive start
? At 9-0, Jones has already recorded the best start by a first-year UCF head coach
? Torchy Clark, who began the UCF program in the late 1960s, had the previous best, as he opened his UCF career with eight-consecutive victories in 1969-70

Power Play
? After joining the Division I ranks in 1984, UCF recorded only three victories over schools from power conferences (ACC, Big 12, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC) in 26 years
? Just nine games into Donnie Jones' tenure at UCF, the Knights have already defeated a BIG EAST program in USF and an SEC squad in 16th-ranked Florida

In-State Success
? The Knights will be seeking their sixth win this season against an in-state opponent when they meet Miami
? Included in the victories are triumphs over USF and 16th-ranked Florida

Feeling Neutral
? The Knights should be excited about playing at the BankAtlantic Center as their last contest on a neutral court was certainly a success
? On Dec. 1, UCF knocked off No. 16 Florida, 59-56, at the new Amway Center in downtown Orlando
? The win was UCF's second all-time victory over a ranked opponent

The Score
? The Knights rank third in the country, behind Kansas (28.3) and Duke (25.8), in scoring margin at +25.6
? UCF has won five of its nine games by at least 25 points
? In 2009-10, UCF won by over 20 points just once, a 24-point victory over visiting Liberty

On the Defensive
? UCF boasts one of the nation's top defenses as the Knights rank second in the country in scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 53.9 points per game
? This year, only one of the team's foes has scored over 60 points (West Florida, 61)
? The Knights are also third nationally in field-goal percentage defense (35.4)

On Target
? UCF enters Wednesday's game ranked second in the country in field-goal percentage at 51.8
? The Knights, who shot 44.2 percent from the field a year ago, have made at least 50.0 percent of their field goals in seven of nine contests this season

Block Party
? A year ago, UCF totaled 95 blocked shots in 32 games
? Thanks to the additions of Tom Herzog (20 blocks) and Dwight McCombs (13), and the improvement of Keith Clanton (16), UCF has already registered 66 blocks in just eight contests in 2010-11
? The Knights rank fourth in the country in blocks per game at 7.3

Not at Full Strength
? UCF is off to the most impressive start in school history despite playing its last five games without its top reserve post player
? A.J. Tyler, who was the team's second-leading scorer last season at 10.3 points per game, has not played since the Knights' win at Stetson on Nov. 23 due to a hip injury
? Tyler was averaging 6.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 18.5 minutes per contest before the injury

Follow the Leaders
? UCF has not trailed entering halftime this season
? The Knights have not had a deficit of more than two points in the second half
? The squad's largest overall deficit was seven points, which came early in the Dec. 4 contest against Southeastern Louisiana

Going Deep
? UCF's bench has outscored its opponent's reserves in all nine games this season
? UCF's reserves are averaging 31.0 points on the season

Super Sophomore
? Along with Marcus Jordan, Keith Clanton earned Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors last year
? Like Jordan, Clanton has shown great improvement this year, as he is averaging 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 58.5 percent overall
? The forward has scored in double-digits in all nine games and has three double-doubles
? He had his most complete performance on Dec. 4, finishing with 16 points, 15 rebounds and a school-record tying eight blocks in the win over Southeastern Louisiana
? Clanton is one of just three players in the country this season to record at least 15 points, at least 15 rebounds and at least five blocks in one game

The Sixth Man
? Despite coming off of the bench, Isaac Sosa is third on the team in scoring at 10.0 points per game
? Sosa, who is averaging 22.8 minutes, has paced the team in points on three occasions
? One of the top shooters in the country, he has hit 20 3-pointers in 2010-11

A Big Impact
? In 15 games at Michigan State last year, Tom Herzog recorded 20 points and three blocks
? Last Saturday against Bethune-Cookman, the fifth-year senior logged 17 minutes - all in the second half - and scored 14 points and matched a school record with eight blocked shots
? Herzog is 17th nationally in blocks per game (2.9), and has 20 blocks in just seven outings this year after swatting 14 shots in 44 career games during his time as a Spartan

Up Next
? UCF will head north to face host UMass Wednesday evening