Surging Knights Host SMU Wednesday for Home Finale

March 1, 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

Purchase Tickets

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Having won four of its last five games, including a thrilling victory over the weekend, the UCF men's basketball team will host SMU Wednesday in the Knights' regular-season home finale at the UCF Arena. Tipoff for the Conference USA contest, which is presented by Farm Bureau Insurance, is 7 p.m.

Under the guidance of new head coach Donnie Jones, UCF (18-9, 5-9 C-USA) is approaching the 20-victory mark on the season. The Knights have won two-consecutive games, including a 65-64 win over visiting Southern Miss Saturday when junior A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) hit the game-winning 3-pointer with only 3.8 seconds remaining.

The contest against SMU (17-11, 8-6) will serve as Senior Night as Taylor Young (Orlando, Fla.), A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and Tom Herzog (Flint, Mich.) will all be honored prior to their final home game. Fans are encouraged to arrive to the arena early as the seniors will be recognized around 6:50 p.m.

Tickets for the game are available at Ticketmaster.com and UCFAthletics.com. All UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID.

The UCF baseball team hosts Maine Wednesday at 4 p.m., and all patrons who show their basketball ticket at the baseball stadium can purchase an adult ticket for just $4 to see the Knights take on the Black Bears. Patrons who already have a ticket to the baseball game can show that ticket at the UCF Arena box office and save $2 off each ticket purchased for the basketball game.

Bright House Sports Network will televise the game live in central Florida. David Baumann will have the call, and will be joined on the broadcast by former Knight Mike O'Donnell.

Fans in Orlando can listen to UCF-SMU on the UCF Sports Network from IMG College and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels will call all of the action from courtside, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. Live video and statistics will be available at UCFAthletics.com.

After facing the Mustangs, UCF will conclude the regular season on Saturday at Marshall. The C-USA Championship starts March 9 in El Paso, Texas.

Series Record Tied, 3-3
Last Meeting UCF 69, SMU 53 (March 10, 2010 in Tulsa, Okla.)

? UCF and SMU have met six times, with each program taking three victories
? SMU is 3-0 at home, while the Knights are 2-0 versus the Mustangs in Orlando
? The squads met twice last year, with host SMU easing to a 65-43 win in Dallas, and then the Knights rolling to a 69-53 win in the Conference USA Championship opening round in Tulsa, Okla.
? Taylor Young led UCF with 15 points against the Mustangs in the C-USA Championship game, and Isaac Sosa hit 4-of-10 3-pointers and finished with 14 points
? In the last series matchup in Orlando, UCF dominated from the opening tip and posted a 70-45 victory on Jan. 28, 2009
? Jermaine Taylor totaled 22 points in the win, and the Knights limited the Mustangs to only 29.8 percent shooting from the floor
? When he was the head coach at Marshall, Donnie Jones' teams went 3-0 against SMU

An Impressive Résumé
? With the regular season coming to a close, UCF picked up another victory over a top-100 RPI squad on Saturday when the Knights topped Southern Miss, 65-64
? Now in contention for a spot in the postseason, the Knights are 7-5 against top-100 squads
? UCF is 58th in the official NCAA RPI and has wins over Florida (12), Southern Miss (40), Princeton (51), Marshall (54), Miami (68), UTEP (70) and Tulsa (92)

Turnaround Time
? After going through a difficult stretch in January and February that included an eight-game losing streak, the Knights are back on track
? UCF has won four of its last five games, including two in a row
? The Knights went 1-6 in January, but recovered to go 4-3 in February

What a Week
? Last week, UCF knocked off a pair of teams who were tied for first in Conference USA at the time that they played the Knights
? UCF defeated host UTEP, 74-68, on Monday, and then topped Southern Miss, 65-64, on Saturday at home
? UTEP and Southern Miss have a combined 42-15 overall record

Last Time Out
? A.J. Rompza hit a long 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds remaining to lift UCF a 65-64 victory over visiting Southern Miss Saturday
? Southern Miss led by two points with 11 seconds to play when the Golden Eagles' Angelo Johnson missed the second of two free throws
? Marcus Jordan grabbed the rebound, quickly pushed the ball up the court and found Rompza on the right side of the court
? UCF trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, but outscored Southern Miss 40-31 after intermission
? Jordan totaled a team-high 20 points in the win, and A.J. Tyler made 4-of-6 3-point attempts and finished with 14 points in 28 minutes off the bench

Getting Defensive
? Wednesday's game features two of the best defensive teams in Conference USA
? SMU leads the league in scoring defense, holding foes to 62.1 points per game, while the Knights are third at 62.4

? Having recorded 18 victories in 2010-11 under new head coach Donnie Jones, UCF has already won three more games than the Knights did a year ago
? UCF's victory at Tulane on Feb. 16 allowed the Knights to surpass their victory total from a year ago
? Last year, UCF went 15-17 and did not win its 15th game until March 10 at the Conference USA Championship

Close Calls
? UCF's last six contests have been decided by a total of 17 points
? UCF has played 14 Conference USA games, and the winning margin in 11 of those contests has been less than 10 points
? The Knights' nine league losses have come by an average of 8.6 points
? UCF's five conference victories have come by an average of 3.6 points
? On the season, UCF is 10-6 in games decided by 10 or fewer points
? The Knights' last three games at the UCF Arena have all been decided by one point each: Memphis 63, UCF 62 (Feb. 9), UCF 58, Tulsa 57 (Feb. 12), UCF 65, Southern Miss 64 (Feb. 26)

Full House
? UCF has experienced a record-setting year attendance-wise as a school-best 107,340 fans have watched the Knights play a total of 16 games at the UCF Arena in 2010-11
? The Knights are averaging 6,709 spectators per game
? In 2009-10, UCF set total (81,161 in 15 games) and average (5,411) attendance marks
? This season, eight of the top-10 crowds in program history have been recorded

? Marcus Jordan leads Conference USA with 172 free-throw attempts
? He has hit 139 foul shots, good for third on the UCF single-season register
? Bo Clark is next on the list having hit 144 foul shots in 1976-77
? Jordan ranks eighth in C-USA in free-throw percentage (80.8)
? In UCF's last five games, which included four victories, Jordan made 26-of-28 (92.9 percent) of his free-throw attempts

Senior Living
? A.J. Tyler had one of the best games of his career Saturday against Southern Miss
? In 28 minutes off of the bench, the senior made 4-of-6 3-pointers and totaled 14 points
? A versatile big man, Tyler missed seven games during non-conference play due to a hip injury
? When he returned to the floor on Dec. 29, he clearly was not himself, and averaged 2.7 points on just 26.5 percent shooting in his first nine games back
? But Tyler is making a positive contribution again, and the power forward averaged 7.6 points in the team's last five games (UCF went 4-1 during the span)

Board Work
? Keith Clanton ranks fifth in Conference USA in rebounds per game, grabbing 8.5 each contest
? Clanton has 230 boards on the season after totaling 217 in 32 games as a freshman

Big Shot for the Little Guard
? A.J. Rompza struggled with the effects of a foot injury towards the start of Conference USA play
? The injury, which forced Rompza to miss two games, clearly took its toll on the energetic junior
? Clearly feeling better, Rompza has been huge for the Knights as of late, especially on Saturday against Southern Miss when he drained the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds remaining
? In UCF's last three contests, the Chicago native averaged 9.3 points while shooting 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from deep in 28.0 minutes off the bench
? In his previous nine league games, Rompza averaged 3.8 points in 22.1 minutes and shot 5-of-25 (20.0 percent) from 3-point range

Point Production
? Marcus Jordan has scored in double figures in 25 of UCF's 27 games this season, and has totaled at least 20 points seven times
? As a freshman, he had 11 double-digit scoring performances, with one over 20 points

Up Next
? UCF will conclude the regular season on Saturday at Marshall
? The Knights recorded a 65-58 win over the visiting Thundering Herd on Jan. 5