Men's Basketball Begins Road Trip at UTEP

Feb. 1, 2011

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By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will begin a challenging week Wednesday with a contest at Conference USA-leading UTEP at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m. Eastern.

The game is one of two on the road this week for the Knights (14-6, 1-6 C-USA), as the squad will face host East Carolina Saturday. UTEP is 17-5 overall and at 5-2, is tied for first in the league standings with Memphis and UAB. The Miners are 13-1 at home this season.

UCF senior center Tom Herzog (Flint, Mich.) is coming off the best game of his career. The transfer from Michigan State totaled 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 35 minutes this past Saturday against UAB. Herzog is averaging 2.5 blocks, which leads C-USA. Sophomore guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) is averaging a team-high 15.7 points, and sophomore forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) is averaging 15.0 points go to along with 8.8 rebounds an outing.

UTEP has won four of its last five games. The Miners are led by Randy Culpepper, who ranks third in C-USA in scoring at 19.6 points per game.

UCF-UTEP will air on the UCF Sports Network from IMG College and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from the Don Haskins Center, and his pregame show will start at 8:30 p.m. Live audio, video and statistics will be available at UCFAthletics.com.

UCF's next home game is Wednesday, Feb. 9, against Memphis. Tipoff is 7 p.m. and a limited number of tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or by visiting UCFAthletics.com.

Series Record UTEP, 4-3
Last Meeting UTEP 76, UCF 54 (March 11, 2010 in Tulsa, Okla.)

? The Miners have a 4-3 edge in the all-time series with the Knights, and have won three-straight contests
? Most recently, the squads met in the 2010 Conference USA Championship quarterfinals in Tulsa, Okla., and UTEP posted a 76-54 victory
? Keith Clanton led the Knights with 12 points, and Jeremy Williams paced the Miners with 17 points on 9-of-9 shooting at the free-throw line
? In the last meeting in El Paso, UTEP held on for a 73-68 win over the Knights on Feb. 12, 2009, despite 38 points from UCF star Jermaine Taylor
? The Miners hit 21 free throws in the second half as the game, which took two hours and 30 minutes, featured 53 combined fouls
? During his time as the head coach at Marshall, Donnie Jones went 0-3 versus the Miners
? UCF will return to El Paso in March when the city hosts the Conference USA Championship for the first time
? The Knights have already made one trip to Texas this year, as the squad played at Houston on Jan. 8

Frequent Flyers
? The Conference USA schedule makers did the Knights no favors this week, as the squad has a brutal schedule
? The slate starts in El Paso and concludes in Greenville, N.C., when the Knights face host East Carolina Saturday
? The Knights will head to North Carolina from El Paso instead of returning to Orlando in between games
? The squad will leave campus on Tuesday and not return until Sunday
? This week, UCF spend time in three time zones (thanks to a layover in Dallas) and log around 3,644 miles in the air

The Match Game
? 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 Feb. 2 of last year, UCF was 11-11 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

Last Time Out
? UAB hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes to take the lead and escape with a 74-69 victory over the host Knights Saturday at the UCF Arena
? The Knights led by two points with 1:51 to go before the Blazers got 3-pointers from Dexter Fields and Jamaar Sanders on back-to-back possessions
? Tom Herzog scored a career-best 20 points in the losing effort

Making Progress
? The contest against UAB was UCF's best since their recent slump started on Jan. 8
? The Knights shot 48.1 percent from the floor, their best mark during the losing streak
? UCF also shot 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) at the free-throw line
? Those numbers came despite the fact that the squad played without two starters - point guard A.J. Rompza and shooting guard David Diakite

A Great Sign
? Another good sign from the UAB contest was the play of Tom Herzog
? The senior center, who is in his first and lone year in Orlando after transferring from Michigan State, led all players with a career-best 20 points
? Herzog shot 7-of-13 overall and went 6-of-7 at the free-throw line in a career-best 35 minutes
? UCF's staff has been looking for another option on the offensive end to go along with Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan, and might have found one in Herzog

Facing the Best
? The contest at UTEP will mark the third-straight game that UCF has played one of the top-three teams in Conference USA
? UCF opened the difficult stretch Wednesday at Memphis, and then hosted UAB
? All three squads are tied for first at 5-2 in C-USA

Getting Defensive
? Last season, 20 of UCF's 32 opponents scored at least 60 points against the Knights
? This year, only eight of the Knights' 20 foes have recorded 60 or more points, with only five eclipsing the 70-point mark
? UCF leads Conference USA in scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 62.0 points an outing
? UCF is also first in C-USA in field goal percentage defense at 39.0

Seventh Heaven
? Keith Clanton, who leads UCF and ranks fourth in Conference USA in rebounds per game at 8.8, has grabbed at least seven boards in 17-consecutive games
? Clanton has six double-digit rebounding performances on the year
? Last Wednesday at Memphis, he grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, including six on the offensive end

League Love
? Spending much of his time at point guard, Marcus Jordan is averaging 3.9 assists in Conference USA play, good for eighth in the league
? Against UAB on Saturday, he totaled a team-best five assists

A Big Night
? In just one night Saturday against visiting UAB, Tom Herzog nearly matched his entire output from his junior year at Michigan State
? Herzog totaled a career-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds, four blocks, one assist and one steal in 35 minutes versus the Blazers
? In 2009-10, Herzog played 55 total minutes and recorded 20 points, 18 rebounds, three blocks, two steals and zero assists

Up Next
? UCF will conclude its two-game road trip at East Carolina Saturday
? The Knights are 11-3 all-time against the Pirates, but East Carolina picked up a 74-62 victory over host UCF on Jan. 19
? The Knights are 5-1 all-time in Greenville, and posted a 67-56 win last season at East Carolina
? A year ago, road teams won both of the series matchups