No. 24 Knights to Take Undefeated Record to UMass

Dec. 21, 2010

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By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Ranked in the top 25 for the first time in program history, the No. 24 UCF men's basketball team will face a tough test Wednesday when the Knights meet UMass at 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. Off to a 10-0 start under new head coach Donnie Jones, the Knights entered the Associated Press Top 25 Poll on Monday.

The top-25 ranking is the first for UCF since joining the Division I ranks in 1984-85. UCF is also on the verge of entering the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll as the squad is receiving 47 votes, unofficially placing the Knights at No. 26.

The Knights are one of just nine undefeated teams in the country. UCF is in elite company as the other teams without a loss are Cincinnati, Connecticut, Duke, Kansas, Northwestern, Ohio State, San Diego State and Syracuse. Highlighting the impressive job that Jones has done since arriving in Orlando, UCF is the lone remaining undefeated squad that did not participate in the postseason a year ago.

UCF is coming off of an 84-78 victory over Miami at the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic Saturday in south Florida. Sophomore guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) scored a game-high 23 points, and sophomore forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) added 14 points and seven boards in the win.

Wednesday's contest will air on the UCF Sports Network from IMG College and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Video of the game will be available on UCFAthletics.com All-Access.

The Minutemen (7-3) started the season with seven-straight wins, including triumphs over New Mexico State and TCU. Anthony Gurley is the squad's top scorer at 20.9 points per game.

Marc Daniels will have the call on the UCF Sports Network broadcast. The pregame show begins at 6:30 p.m. Live audio will also be available on UCFAthletics.com.

The contest will conclude a two-game stretch away from Orlando for the Knights. The squad's next home game is Dec. 29 against Furman as part of the UCF Holiday Classic.

A special UCF-Conference USA ticket pack is now available. The pack allows fans to watch the Knights play their eight C-USA home games for only $80, offering a $24 saving over single-game prices. To order the pack today, visit UCFAthletics.com or call (407) UCF-1000.

Series Record Tied, 1-1M
Last Meeting UCF 84, UMass 67 (Nov. 13, 2009, in Orlando)

? UCF evened up the all-time series with the Minutemen on Nov, 13, 2009, as the Knights opened the 2009-10 campaign with an 84-67 victory over UMass in front of 8,727 fans at the UCF Arena
? Isaac Sosa hit 6-of-7 3-point attempts and finished with a career-high 26 points in the win, and A.J. Rompza added 13 points and five assists
? The Knights shot 54.5 percent overall and limited UMass to just a 33.3 percent shooting performance
? The meeting last year between the schools was the first since the 1996 NCAA Tournament when the top-seeded Minutemen posted a 92-70 win over the Knights in the first round in Providence, R.I.
? UCF will be playing a contest in Massachusetts for the second time as the Knights faced Connecticut in the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament in nearby Worcester
? Last year while at Michigan State, UCF senior center Tom Herzog had his best game of the campaign against UMass, totaling four points and four rebounds in the Spartans' win at the Legends Classic in Atlantic City

Last Time Out
? UCF used an incredible second-half performance, and a game-high 23 points from game MVP Marcus Jordan, to improve to 10-0 Saturday with an 84-78 win over Miami at the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
? The Knights trailed by 10 points at halftime, but shot 75.0 percent overall after intermission when they outscored the Hurricanes 51-35

State Champs
? Following the Knights' win over Miami Saturday, many in the media were calling UCF the state champions, and for good reason
? UCF has faced and defeated three of the four "power conference" programs in the state - No. 16 Florida, Miami and USF
? In total, the Knights went 6-0 against Sunshine State programs during the non-conference slate

A Great Knight
? UCF is one of the few schools in the nation that is enjoying great success not only on the hardwood, but also on the gridiron
? UCF is one of only four schools in the country that is currently ranked in both the BCS Top 25 and the Associated Press Basketball Top 25, joining Ohio State, Michigan State and Missouri
? UCF's football squad is 10-3 and ranked 25th in the BCS poll
? The team will meet Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31

They Got the Power
? 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 10 games into Donnie Jones' tenure at UCF, the Knights have already matched that number, having topped a BIG EAST program in USF, an SEC squad in 16th-ranked Florida and an ACC team in Miami

A Long Road to Travel
? The game at UMass will serve as UCF's first contest outside of Florida this season
? This season is not the first year that the Knights have spent ample time in the Sunshine State before playing a game outside of Florida
? In 2007-08, UCF had nine in-state games before facing host Nevada on Dec. 16

A Familiar Spot
? Donnie Jones is no stranger to impressive undefeated starts
? As an assistant at Florida in 2005-06, he was a part of a team that opened the campaign with 17-straight wins
? The Gators claimed the national title that season, and finished the year with a 33-6 mark

The Defense Never Rests
? UCF boasts one of the nation's top defenses as the Knights rank 12th in the country in scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 56.3 points per game
? This year, only two of the team's foes have scored over 60 points
? Through 10 contests last season, eight of the squad's opponents totaled at least 60 points
? The Knights are also eighth nationally in field-goal percentage defense (36.2)

The Comeback Kids
? When the Knights entered the locker room at the break Saturday against Miami down 43-33, it marked the first time this year that UCF trailed entering halftime

10 for 10
? Keith Clanton has totaled at least 10 points in each of UCF's 10 games to start the season
? In doing so, the Orlando native has achieved a feat that Jermaine Taylor did not during his All-America campaign of 2008-09 when he averaged 26.2 points
? Taylor scored in double figures in 30 of 31 games, but started the year by scoring over 10 points in only the team's first four games

No Turnover
? A.J. Rompza has been careful with the ball as the point guard has dished out 44 assists this season while committing only 14 turnovers, and his 3.14 assist-turnover ratio is the 15th-best mark in the nation
? Rompza ranks fifth in program history with 338 assists

The Sixth Man
? Despite coming off of the bench, Isaac Sosa is third on the team in scoring at 9.6 points per game
? Sosa, who is averaging 24.0 minutes, has paced the team in points on three occasions
? One of the top shooters in the country, he has hit 22 3-pointers in 2010-11, and is shooting 43.1 percent from deep, which ranks fifth in Conference USA

A Big Addition
? In 44 career games at Michigan State, Tom Herzog totaled 44 points, 43 rebounds and 14 blocked shots
? Herzog, who is in his first and lone year at UCF, has had a huge impact with the Knights
? While playing in just eight games and battling a wrist injury, the 7-foot center is averaging 5.4 points, 3.4 boards and 2.8 blocks per game, good for 16th nationally
? He has already totaled 43 points, 27 rebounds and 22 blocks
? In Saturday's win over Miami, he played a career-high 28 minutes and scored 11 points to go with a career-best 10 rebounds and two blocked shots

Up Next
? UCF will have some time off for Christmas before returning to action on Dec. 29 against Furman as part of the UCF Holiday Classic