UCF to Face C-USA Challenge at Memphis

Jan. 25, 2011

="" alt="Knight Head" border="0" class="imported"> Read John Denton's Knights Insider | ="" alt="Twitter Logo" border="0" class="imported">Follow us on Twitter | ="" alt="Facebook Logo" border="0" class="imported">Get social with the Knights on Facebook

By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will face a great challenge Wednesday when the Knights meet host Memphis for a Conference USA contest at the FedEx Forum. The game will start at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports.

Memphis (15-4, 4-1 C-USA) has won three-straight contests and is receiving votes in both national polls. The Tigers are 12-1 at home this season and have lost one just C-USA game at the FedEx Forum in the last five years.

UCF is 14-4 overall and 1-4 in league play. Under new head coach Donnie Jones, UCF is seeking to match its victory total from a year ago, when the squad went 15-17 overall. Sophomore guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) is averaging a team-high 15.8 points, while sophomore forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) is averaging 15.6 points and 8.7 rebounds.

The Tigers are coming off of a 76-73 overtime win at UAB Saturday. One of the top freshmen in Conference USA, Will Barton leads Memphis in scoring at 12.6 points per game.

On the CBS College Sports broadcast, Dave Ryan will handle play-by-play, and will be joined by former Virginia and Providence head coach Pete Gillen.

In Orlando, fans can listen to the contest on the UCF Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game. Marc Daniels will have the call from the FedEx Forum, and his pregame show begins at 7:30 p.m. Live audio of the broadcast will be available at UCFAthletics.com.

After meeting the Tigers, UCF will return home to host UAB Saturday at 7 p.m. at the UCF Arena. Tickets for that contest are available at Ticketmaster.com or by visiting UCFAthletics.com.

Series Record Memphis, 8-0
Last Meeting Memphis 76, UCF 70 (Feb. 10, 2010)

? The Knights are looking for their first victory against Memphis
? Memphis has an 8-0 edge in the all-time series, and has won all three contests against the Knights at FedEx Forum
? When the teams met a year ago in Memphis, the Tigers held on for a 76-70 win over the Knights in a contest that featured 15 ties and 15 lead changes
? A.J. Tyler led UCF with 18 points, and Marcus Jordan added 10 points and seven assists with zero turnovers
? Donnie Jones went 0-3 against the Tigers during his time at Marshall
? UCF and Memphis will meet again on Feb. 9 in Orlando
? This marks the first year since the Knights joined Conference USA in 2005 that UCF will face Memphis twice in a season
? Both UCF and the Tigers posted non-conference wins over Miami earlier this season
? With FedEx Forum being home to the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, UCF will be playing at a pro facility for the third time this year
? UCF faced Florida on Dec. 1 at the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, and met Miami on Dec. 18 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, the home venue for the NHL's Florida Panthers

Last Time Out
? The Knights' late comeback attempt fell short Saturday as Rice held on for a 57-50 victory over UCF at the UCF Arena
? UCF trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half, but mounted a 15-3 run midway in the period to get back into the game
? Keith Clanton, who finished with 18 points, eight boards and four blocks, had eight points during the run
? The Knights had the Rice lead cut to one point with 28 seconds to play, but the Owls hit six foul shots down the stretch to secure the win

Ahead of Schedule
? 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
? On Jan. 26 of last season, UCF was 10-0 overall
? 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
? UCF was one of the final six remaining unbeaten squads in the country

Seventy Something
? Donnie Jones needs just one win claim his 70th career victory
? In his fourth year as a head coach, Jones is 69-45 overall
? Before coming to UCF, Jones went 55-41 in three years as the head coach at Marshall

In the Ranks
? Starting Dec. 20, UCF spent four weeks as a nationally-ranked team
? UCF spent three of the weeks ranked in both polls, moving as high as 18th in the coaches poll and 19th in the AP Top 25 on Jan. 3
? The Knights earned a national ranking for the first time in program history on Dec. 20 when they were listed at No. 24 in the AP poll
? Before this season, UCF had only received top-25 votes twice in its history

Road Work
? Last season, UCF went just 3-9 on the road, with all three of the victories coming during Conference USA play
? The Knights need just one win to match their road victory total from 2009-10 as the squad is 2-2 in true road games this season

The Future Looks Brighter
? Although the Knights have already achieved many accomplishments this season, the future looks even brighter for head coach Donnie Jones' program
? UCF's top-two players, Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan, are sophomores, and the team will return 88.6 percent of its scoring and 85.1 of its rebounding next season after losing just three seniors
? Next year, the Knights will have the services of three high-profile transfers who are sitting out this season due to NCAA rules - center Josh Crittle (Oregon), point guard Jeff Jordan (Illinois) and small forward Tristan Spurlock (Virginia)
? Jones has already assembled a recruiting class that includes three of the top prep players in Florida: small forward Rod Days (Weston/Sagemont), power forward Wayne Martin (Jacksonville/Providence Christian) and power forward Kasey Wilson (North Port/North Port)
? The class has been rated as one of the best in the country by both ESPN.com and Scout.com

Tough Stretch
? The game at Memphis is the start of an incredibly tough stretch for the Knights, who face the top three teams in the Conference USA standings in their next three games
? After facing Memphis, who is tied for first in the league with UTEP at 4-1, the Knights host UAB (3-2 tied for third) Saturday and then play at UTEP next Wednesday
? Memphis, UTEP and UAB are a combined 44-13 overall this year

New Kids on the Block
? After totaling just 95 blocks in 32 games last year, the Knights lead the country with 6.9 blocks per game
? Through only 18 contests this season, the Knights have already recorded 125 blocks, which ranks third on the school single-season register
? Tom Herzog (39 blocks) leads Conference USA and is 24th in the country with 2.4 blocks per game, and Keith Clanton (43 blocks) is 28th at 2.4
? In C-USA contests, UCF is averaging 7.2 blocks

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 and ranks 24th nationally in scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 60.4 points an outing
? UCF is also seventh in the country in field-goal percentage defense (37.9)
? The Knights have limited all but three of their opponents to below 45.0 percent shooting

? UCF's bench has outscored its opponents reserves in all but four contests this season
? The squad's bench is averaging 28.5 points per game

Up Next
? UCF will return home to host UAB Saturday
? The Blazers have a 5-0 edge in the all-time series, and the squads will also meet in Birmingham on Feb. 19

Show and Improve
? Keith Clanton is showing off a well-improved game this season
? After earning Conference USA All-Freshman team honors a year ago, Clanton is averaging 15.6 points and 8.7 boards per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the floor and 43.3 percent from deep
? He has scored in double digits in 17 of 18 games in 2010-11

Board Work
? Keith Clanton, who leads UCF and ranks fifth in Conference USA in rebounds per game at 8.7, has grabbed at least seven boards in 15-consecutive games
? Clanton has five double-digit rebounding performances on the year

Off the Block
? Keith Clanton ranks second in Conference USA and 28th nationally, averaging 2.4 blocks per game
? His 43 blocks are already good for ninth on the UCF single-season swats register
? The Orlando native ranks fifth in UCF history with 88 career blocks

Three the Hard Way
? As a freshman, Keith Clanton did not have the touch from deep, as he made just 4-of-21 (19.0 percent) attempts from 3-point range
? Clanton has shot much better from deep this year, as he has hit 43.3 percent (13-of-30) of his tries

Getting Better
? Marcus Jordan averaged 8.0 points on 41.3 percent shooting last year, good enough numbers to earn him a spot on the Conference USA All-Freshman Team
? Jordan has made great strides as a sophomore, as he leads the squad and ranks 10th in C-USA in scoring at 15.8 points per game
? He has led the Knights in scoring eight times this year, compared to three as a freshman

Seeing Double
? Marcus Jordan has scored in double figures in 16 of UCF's 18 games this season, and has also scored at least 20 points five times
? As a freshman, he had 11 double-digit scoring performances, with one over 20 points

The Sixth Man
shooters in the country, he has hit 40 3-pointers in 2010-11, and is shooting 41.7 percent from deep, which ranks 10th among all players in Conference USA

Welcome Freshman
? Isaiah Sykes is quietly having a solid freshman campaign
? Sykes is averaging 4.7 points in 18.6 minutes per contest and is shooting 60.8 percent from the floor
? Despite standing 6-foot-5, Sykes is third on the team in rebounds per game at 3.8