Undefeated UCF to Host Marshall in C-USA Opener

Jan. 4, 2011

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By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After finishing its non-league slate without a loss, the No. 19/18 UCF men's basketball team will open Conference USA play Wednesday against Marshall at the UCF Arena at 7 p.m. UCF (13-0) is one of only seven undefeated teams in the country.

Thanks to their undefeated start to the campaign under new head coach Donnie Jones, the Knights are ranked in the top 20 in both national polls. On Monday, the team remained at No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25, and moved to 18th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

The other teams in the country without a loss are Cincinnati, Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, San Diego State and Syracuse. Those schools have combined to win 11 national titles.

Marshall (10-3) has won seven of its last eight games. DeAndre Kane is the team's top scorer at 15.2 points per game, while Tirell Baines is averaging 12.7 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds. The Thundering Herd are 3-2 away from home this season. Jones arrived at UCF in late March after three campaigns as Marshall's head coach.

Prior to Wednesday's game, fans will have the opportunity to celebrate the UCF football team's historic season by taking a photo with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and C-USA Championship trophies. The trophies will be displayed upstairs, just above the UCF Arena front lobby, starting at 6 p.m.

All kids 14 and under will be admitted to the game for free with a paying adult. On Wednesday, the UCF Arena box office will be open prior to the game. All UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID.

The best way to ensure that you are there to watch the Knights play Marshall, and their seven other league opponents, is to purchase the UCF-Conference USA ticket pack. The pack allows fans to grab a lower level ticket to watch the Knights play their C-USA home games for only $96, offering a $24 savings over single-game prices. Packages are also available for $80 for upper level seating. To order the pack today, visit UCFAthletics.com or call (407) UCF-1000.

Bright House Sports Network will televise the contest live in central Florida, and CSS will air the matchup throughout the southeast. David Baumann will handle the play-by-play duties, and will be joined on the broadcast by former UCF standout guard Mike O'Donnell.

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. Live video and statistics will be available on UCFAthletics.com.

Series Record Marshall, 6-4
Last Meeting Marshall 121, UCF 115/3ot (Feb. 27, 2010 in Huntington, W.Va.

? UCF head coach Donnie Jones spent the last three years as Marshall's head coach, compiling a 55-41 record
? Jones, a native of West Virginia who earned his master's degree at Marshall, led the Thundering Herd to one of the finest campaigns in school history in 2009-10
? Marshall went 24-10 overall, 11-5 in Conference USA play and participated in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, the school's first trip to the postseason in 22 years
? The last series meeting was a memorable one as Jones' Marshall squad held on for a 121-115 win over the visiting Knights in triple overtime on Feb. 27, 2010
? UCF trailed by 17 points at halftime, but rallied to send the game in extra sessions
? Five Knights finished with double-figures in scoring in the game, led by Taylor Young who scored 23 points
? A.J. Rompza logged 51 minutes in the game, and dished out 13 assists for the Knights
? In two games versus Marshall last year, Marcus Jordan averaged 18.5 points, 5.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds

Last Time Out
? Marcus Jordan scored 22 of his game-high 26 points after intermission as UCF overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to top Princeton, 68-62, on Dec. 30
? With the victory, the Knights claimed the UCF Holiday Classic presented by EA Sports title
? UCF limited the Tigers to only 25 points on 35.0 percent shooting in the second half

? Highlighting the job that Donnie Jones has done in his first season at UCF, the Knights are the lone nationally-ranked squad that did not participate in the postseason a year ago
? UCF went 15-17 in 2009-10

Power Forward
? With 16 regular-season games remaining, UCF is just two victories shy of its 2009-10 win total (15)
? Last year, UCF did not win its 13th game until Feb. 16, its 27th contest of the season

Non-Conference Perfection
? For the first time in program history, UCF went unbeaten during non-conference play, going 13-0
? The 13 non-league wins are the most in school history
? The previous best non-conference record came in 2006-07 when the Knights went 11-3 before opening Conference USA play

A Month to Remember
? UCF went a perfect 8-0 in December
? The eight victories were the most for the Knights in a month since UCF went 9-1 in January 2004

A Super Start
? UCF's 13-0 start to the season is the best by a Conference USA team since Memphis won its first 26 games in 2007-08
? The Tigers went 38-2 that season and advanced to the national title game

Conference Call
? The Knights are 3-2 all-time in Conference USA openers
? Donnie Jones went 2-1 in league openers while at Marshall

Group Home
? The Knights are 9-0 at the UCF Arena this season, where they have a +24.9 scoring margin
? A year ago, UCF won nine games at home

Crowded House
? UCF is averaging 5,771 fans per game this season, already posting an improvement over last year's school record average attendance of 5,411
? Three of the top-10 crowds in program history have already been recorded this season

The Defense Never Rests
? UCF boasts one of the nation's top defenses as the Knights rank ninth in the country in scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 56.7 points per game
? This year, only three of the team's foes have scored over 60 points, with one of those squads eclipsing the 70-point mark
? The Knights are also fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (36.0)

Sure Shot
? UCF enters Wednesday's game ninth in the country in field-goal percentage at 50.0
? 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 13 contests this season

70 Something
? UCF has scored at least 70 points in nine of its 12 outings in 2010-11
? Last year, UCF recorded 70 or more points 12 times in 32 games

Going Deep
? UCF has gotten great play from its bench this season as the team's reserves are averaging 30.7 points per game
? The Knights' bench has outscored their opponent's reserves in 12 of 13 games this season

Off the Block
? Keith Clanton ranks second in Conference USA, averaging 2.1 blocks per game
? Clanton has totaled 27 swats on the year, and the Orlando native ranks eighth in school history with 72 career blocks

The Dish
? Despite starting at power forward in all 13 of UCF's games, Keith Clanton ranks third on the team with 25 assists (1.9 per game)
? He has dished out at least three assists four times this season

Share the Rock
? Marcus Jordan is doing more than just scoring for the Knights, as he is second on the team averaging 3.0 assists per game
? The sophomore has paced the team in assists on five occasions

On Line
? As a freshman, Marcus Jordan got to the free-throw line 106 times in 32 games, averaging 3.3 attempts per contest
? This season, Jordan is doing a good job of drawing contact, as he has already attempted 77 foul shots for a 5.9 per game average

Trey Songz
? Isaac Sosa ranks eighth in program history with 158 career 3-pointers
? Ray Abellard is seventh, having hit 169 treys from 2001-03
? Sosa ranks third in UCF history in 3-point field goal percentage (43.4)
? He is also seventh on the Conference USA career 3-point field goal percentage register
? Aaron Hutchins of Marquette is the league's all-time leader in the category, having hit 46.6 percent of his attempts from deep from 1996-98

Rated Rookie
? Isaiah Sykes is quietly having a solid freshman campaign
? The guard/forward has come off of the bench in all 13 of UCF's games and is averaging 5.5 points and 4.3 rebounds, which ranks third on the team
? Sykes is averaging 20.4 minutes and is shooting 60.5 percent overall

Reppin the D
? Hailing from Detroit, Isaiah Sykes has already established himself as UCF's top perimeter defender
? Sykes is a major reason why the Knights rank ninth in the nation in scoring defense at 56.7 points per game
? He ranks third on the team with 13 steals

Man of Steal
? On the season, A.J. Rompza leads the Knights with 17 steals
? The junior ranks seventh in program history with 144 career steals
? Ruben Cotton (1979-81) is sixth on the list with 149 steals

Up Next
? UCF will return to action Saturday at Houston
? The Knights won both matchups against the Cougars last season
? The contest will serve as the lone regular-season meeting between the teams