No. 23/22 UCF Men's Basketball to Play at Southern Miss Saturday

Jan. 14, 2011

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By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Playing for the first time in a week, the No. 23/22 UCF men's basketball team will be looking to return to its winning ways Saturday when the Knights meet host Southern Miss. Tip-off for the Conference USA contest at Reed Green Coliseum in Hattiesburg is 5 p.m. Eastern.

The Knights (14-1, 1-1 C-USA) saw their perfect start to the season come to an end last week at Houston, but UCF is still ranked in both national polls. UCF is listed in the top-10 nationally in winning percentage as well.

UCF boasts one of the top defenses in the country as the team is holding foes to just 58.1 points per contest. The Knights lead the country in blocks per game at 7.1.

Sophomore guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) paces the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game, while sophomore forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) is averaging 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds.

The Golden Eagles (13-3, 2-1) posted some big wins during the non-league portion of their schedule, including victories at both USF and California. Gary Flowers, one of the premier post players in the country, leads the league in scoring at 21.4 points per game, and is also averaging 7.7 boards.

UCF-Southern Miss will air live on the UCF Sports Network from IMG College and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando, with Marc Daniels on the call. Fans can watch video and listen to audio of the contest at UCFAthletics.com.

After facing the Golden Eagles, UCF will return home to host East Carolina (Wednesday) and Rice (Jan. 22).

Series Record Southern Miss, 4-3
Last Meeting Southern Miss 68, UCF 58 (Feb. 20, 2010 in Hattiesburg)

? The contest against the Golden Eagles will serve as UCF's fourth trip to Hattiesburg
? The squads met once last season, and host Southern Miss overcame a 16-point second half deficit to post a 68-58 victory over the Knights on Feb. 20
? Isaac Sosa led UCF with 14 points off the bench, and A.J. Tyler and Marcus Jordan added 13 and 12 points, respectively
? Angelo Johnson scored 24 points in the victory
? During his time as the head coach at Marshall, Donnie Jones went 1-2 against Southern Miss

Quick Turnaround
? Highlighting the incredible job that Donnie Jones has done in his first year in Orlando, along with Georgia, UCF is one of only two teams that is currently nationally ranked after not participating in the postseason last year
? UCF went 15-17 in 2009-10

Last Time Out
? UCF saw its perfect start to the season end last Saturday as Houston held on for a 76-71 victory over the Knights at Hofheinz Pavilion
? UCF nearly overcame an 18-point deficit, but its second-half comeback fell short, snapping the Knights' 14-game winning streak
? Houston shot 48.3 percent in the first half, and made 5-of-8 attempts from deep, and took a 36-21 edge into intermission
? UCF shot just 39.2 percent for the game and had only six assists with 16 turnovers
? Keith Clanton and Tom Herzog both finished with 13 points for the Knights

Elite 11
? The 14-1 Knights are one of only 11 squads in the country with one or no losses in 2010-11
? San Diego State (18-0), Ohio State (17-0), Syracuse (17-0) and Kansas (16-0) are all unbeaten
? The Knights are in good company as BYU (17-1), Pittsburgh (16-1), Cincinnati (16-1), Texas A&M (15-1) and Villanova (15-1) all have just one loss

Fast Forward
? UCF needs just one victory to match its win total from a year ago
? Last year, UCF did not win its 15th game until March 10 at the Conference USA Championship

Seventy Something
? Donnie Jones needs just one win claim his 70th career victory
? In his fourth year as a head coach, Jones is 69-42 overall

Away Team
? UCF is 2-1 in road games this season, having posted wins at Stetson and UMass
? The Knights need just one road victory to match their 2009-10 away win total
? A year ago, the Knights went 3-9 on the road, with all three of the victories coming during Conference USA play
? After facing Southern Miss, UCF will have six road contests remaining on its schedule

Second-Half Surge
? In its last six games, UCF excelled in the second half, averaging 41.2 points, compared to 29.3 points in the first half
? During the contests, UCF shot 51.4 percent overall after the break, and limited its opponents to just 31.8 points
? The Knights trailed or were tied at halftime in four of those games

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 58.1 points per game
? This year, only four of the team's foes have scored over 60 points, with two of those squads eclipsing the 70-point mark
? The Knights are also sixth in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (36.6)

Block Party
? UCF leads the nation in blocks per game 7.1
? Last season, UCF totaled 95 blocked shots in 32 games
? Through only 15 contests this season, the Knights have already recorded 107 blocks
? Tom Herzog (37 blocks) ranks 15th in the country with 2.8 blocks per game, and Keith Clanton (33 blocks) is 36th at 2.2
? UCF is the lone team in the country that has two players in the top 40 in blocked shots

? UCF is 16th in the country in field-goal percentage (48.9)
? 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 eight of 15 contests this season

Going Deep
? Donnie Jones has raved about his team's depth this season, and for good reason
? UCF's reserves are averaging 29.5 points per contest, compared to 17.8 for the team's opponents
? Jones has used at least 10 players in 14 of the Knights' 15 contests

On the Increase
? During UCF's non-conference schedule, no Knight averaged more than 30.0 minutes a contest
? Keith Clanton was the team's leader in minutes per game with 29.3
? Now that Conference USA play has started, several Knights are seeing an increase of minutes
? Marcus Jordan (37.0), Clanton (35.0) and A.J. Rompza (31.0) are all averaging over 30 minutes in league play

Second-Year Sensation
? 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 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds, good for fourth in C-USA, while shooting 51.7 percent overall and 42.3 percent from 3-point range
? He has scored in double digits in 14 of 15 games in 2010-11

Off the Block
? Keith Clanton ranks second in Conference USA, averaging 2.2 blocks per game
? Clanton has totaled 33 swats on the year, and the Orlando native ranks eighth at UCF with 78 career blocks

Line' Em Up
? Marcus Jordan is doing his best to get to the freebies
? Jordan has attempted 90 free throws this season, and has connected on 72
? Last season, the shooting guard went 74-of-106 (69.8 percent) at the line
? This year, Jordan is getting to the line when it matters most as 51 of his 72 made foul shots have come in the second half

Man of Steal
? On the season, A.J. Rompza leads the Knights with 20 steals
? The junior ranks seventh in program history with 147 career steals, just behind Ruben Cotton (1978-81/149)

Up Next
? UCF will play at home for the first time since Jan. 5 when the team hosts East Carolina Wednesday
? The Knights have an 11-2 edge in the all-time series with the Pirates
? The contest will start a two-game homestand for UCF, as the Knights also host Rice next Saturday