UCF Seeking Return to Winning Ways Saturday vs. Rice

Jan. 21, 2011

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By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - On Saturday, the UCF men's basketball team will look to return to its winning ways when the Knights host Rice for a Conference USA matchup at 7 p.m. at the UCF Arena. UCF is 14-3 overall, including a 10-1 mark at home, under new head coach Donnie Jones.

At halftime of the game, which is presented by the UCF College of Medicine, UCF will honor its 2010 football team, which claimed the C-USA title and defeated Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The festivities include a special video presentation that contains a look back at the historic season. The Knights concluded the campaign ranked in both national polls. Prior to the game, fans will receive a free scorecard commemorating the bowl game victory.

Tickets for the contest are available at Ticketmaster.com or at UCFAthletics.com. On Saturday, the UCF Arena box office will be open before the contest. UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID.

UCF fell to 1-3 in C-USA play on Wednesday with a loss to East Carolina, but the Knights are hoping to begin a new winning streak against Rice (8-10, 0-4). UCF is garnering votes in both national polls, and needs just one victory to match its win total from a year ago.

The Knights got a major contribution from junior guard Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) against East Carolina. In 27 minutes off of the bench, Sosa connected on four 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 16 points. Sophomore forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) totaled 12 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and three assists Wednesday. On the year, Clanton is averaging 15.4 points and 8.8 rebounds. He ranks in the top-35 nationally in blocks per game at 2.29.

Rice features one of the nation's premier post players in Arsalan Kazemi. The sophomore is averaging 16.6 points and leads C-USA with 11.2 rebounds per game. This past summer, Kazemi averaged 12.0 points at the FIBA World Championship while playing for Iran. Against the United States squad filled with NBA stars, he scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds.

UCF-East Carolina will be televised live in central Florida on Bright House Sports Network. David Baumann will handle the play-by-play, and will be joined on the broadcast by former UCF standout guard Mike O'Donnell. In the southeast, the game will be joined in progress on CSS.

Fans in Orlando can listen to the game on the UCF Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game. Marc Daniels will have the call from courtside, with pregame coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. Live video and statistics will be available on UCFAthletics.com.

A large crowd is expected for Saturday's game, and UCF Athletics would like to remind fans of the following parking notes:

? UCF basketball patrons can now go on-line at UCFAthletics.com and pre-purchase a parking pass for quicker entry into parking garages and lots.

? The parking procedure will be to utilize Garage D first, then park cars in the adjacent Surface Lot D, Lot C and Garage C. If those lots get full, parking will be redirected to Bright House Networks Stadium parking lots E6 and E7.

? Golden Knights Club donor parking is still available in Garage F. If Garage F reaches capacity, the baseball outfield parking lot will open and serve as overflow donor parking.

Series Record UCF, 8-3
Last Meeting UCF 65, Rice 59 (March 6, 2010 in Houston)

? UCF leads the all-time series with Rice, 8-3, including a 3-1 mark in Orlando
? The Knights have won the last two series matchups, both last season
? In the contest at the UCF Arena, Keith Clanton recorded 17 points in UCF's 77-58 victory on Jan. 9
? In the final regular season game for both squads, UCF posted a 66-59 win over the host Owls on March 6
? Taylor Young led UCF with 14 points, and Marcus Jordan added 12 points in the win
? In his three campaigns at Marshall, Donnie Jones went 3-0 versus the Owls
? The contest in Orlando will serve as the lone regular season meeting between UCF and Rice after the programs played twice in each of the last four seasons
? Both UCF and the Owls faced Miami earlier this season, with the Knights taking an 84-78 victory in Sunrise, and Rice falling 73-67 to the Hurricanes in Las Vegas

Last Time Out
? Playing at home for the first time since Jan. 5, UCF was unable to pickup a win Wednesday as East Carolina used a strong performance on both ends of the floor to post a 74-62 victory over the Knights
? East Carolina led by as many as 17 points in the second half, and UCF got within seven points with 3:09 to play, but could get no closer the rest of the way
? The Pirates shot 58.8 percent overall from deep for the game
? The contest was played in front of 8,004 fans, good for the fifth-largest crowd in program history

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
? The Knights started this year with 14-straight victories to record the best start at UCF since the program moved to the Division I ranks in 1984

Seventy Something
? Donnie Jones needs just one win claim his 70th career victory
? In his fourth year as a head coach, Jones is 69-44 overall
? Before coming to UCF, Jones went 55-41 in three years as the head coach at Marshall

Pack the House
? Fans are flocking to the UCF Arena in 2010-11 as the Knights are averaging 6,280 spectators per game
? Five of the top-10 crowds in program history have already been recorded this year
? UCF's last two home games - Marshall (9,094) and East Carolina (8,004) - had the third and fifth biggest crowds in school history, respectively
? The Knights rank third in Conference USA in attendance, trailing only Memphis (16,678) and UTEP (7,929)
? UCF averaged a school-record 5,411 fans in 2009-10
? That mark ranked sixth in C-USA

Getting Defensive
? Last season, 20 of UCF's 32 opponents scored at least 60 points against the Knights
? This year, only six of the Knights' foes have recorded 60 or more points, with only three eclipsing the 70-point mark
? UCF leads Conference USA in scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 60.6 points an outing

To the Limit
? UCF also paces Conference USA in field-goal percentage defense (38.0)
? The Knights have limited all but three of their opponents to below 45.0 percent shooting

Swat Team
? Last season, UCF totaled 95 blocked shots in 32 games
? Through only 17 contests this season, the Knights have already recorded 116 blocks
? UCF paces Conference USA and ranks third in the nation in blocks per game at 6.8
? Tom Herzog (38 blocks) is 21st in the country with 2.5 blocks per game, and Keith Clanton (39 blocks) is 30th at 2.3

Block Party
? UCF's 116 swats this year currently rank fourth on the school single-season register
? The Knights are on pace to set a new single-season record
? The current record of 143 blocks was established in 2004-05

Going Deep
? After shooting 33.8 percent from 3-point range a year ago, the Knights are making 37.0 percent of their 3-point field goals this season
? The team's three players with the most 3-point attempts - Isaac Sosa (41.3 percent), Marcus Jordan (43.1) and Keith Clanton (44.8) - are all shooting over 40.0 percent from behind-the-arc

? UCF's bench has outscored its opponents reserves in all but three contests this season
? The squad's bench is averaging 29.1 points per game

Off the Block
? Keith Clanton ranks second in Conference USA, averaging 2.3 blocks per game
? His 39 blocks are already good for 11th on the UCF single-season swats register
? The Orlando native ranks seventh in UCF history with 84 career blocks, and will soon move to sixth, where Anthony Williams sits with 86 blocks from 2004-06

Deep Dish
? Marcus Jordan is doing more than just scoring for the Knights, as he is second on the team averaging 3.2 assists per game
? The Chicago native has paced the team in assists on eight occasions

Moving on Up
? Isaac Sosa is quickly moving up the UCF career 3-pointers register
? After hitting four 3-pointers Wednesday against East Carolina, Sosa is now tied with Ray Abellard (2001-03) for seventh with 168 treys
? D'Quarius Stewart (1996-00) and Harry Kennedy (1995-97) are tied for fifth with 175 3-pointers
? Sosa also ranks third in UCF history in 3-point field goal percentage (43.2)

Mr. Experience
? Taylor Young, who recently played in his 100th career game, logged 14 minutes against East Carolina and totaled three points, two assists, two rebounds and two steals while not posting a turnover
? One of three seniors on the squad, Young is in his fifth year at UCF after redshirting in 2006-07

Welcome Freshman
? Isaiah Sykes, who made his first collegiate start Wednesday against East Carolina, is quietly having a solid freshman campaign
? Sykes is averaging 4.8 points in 18.9 minutes per contest and is shooting 61.2 percent from the floor
? Despite standing 6-foot-5, Sykes is third on the team in rebounds per game at 4.0

Up Next
? UCF will play at Memphis Wednesday, in a contest that will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports
? The Tigers have an 8-0 edge in the all-time series
? For the first time since UCF joined Conference USA in 2005, the Knights and Memphis will meet twice this season as the squads will also play on Feb. 9 in Orlando