UCF-Creighton to Battle for Spot in CBI Championship Series

March 22, 2011

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By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will play for a spot in the 2011 CBI presented by Zebra Pen Championship Series Wednesday when the Knights meet host Creighton at the Qwest Center Omaha, Neb. Tipoff for the CBI semifinal game is 8 p.m. Eastern, and the contest will air live nationally on HDNet.

UCF (21-11) advanced to the semifinals with a convincing 66-54 victory over visiting Rhode Island Monday. With the win, head coach Donnie Jones' squad improved to 15-0 this season against non-league opponents.

Junior forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) led the Knights with 16 points and nine rebounds in the win over the Rams. The Knights got big contributions from a pair of senior reserves. Forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) totaled 11 points, and center Tom Herzog (Flint, Mich.) added 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.

Two hours after the win over Rhode Island, the Knights learned that they were heading to Nebraska to meet Creighton. The Knights left campus around noon Tuesday.

Creighton (21-14) defeated Davidson, 102-92, Monday to improve to 17-3 at home this year. The Bluejays are led by Doug McDermott, who is averaging 15.0 points per game.

The winner of the UCF-Creighton game will meet either Oregon or Boise State in the championship series. The best-of-three series begins March 28.

On the HDNet broadcast, Kenny Rice will have the call, and be joined by former Wyoming head coach Heath Schroyer.

Fans in Orlando can listen to the contest on the UCF Sports Network from IMG College and its flagship station, 740 The Game. Marc Daniels will handle the play-by-play from Omaha. Pregame coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. Live audio will be available at UCFAthletics.com.

Series Record First Meeting

? UCF and Creighton will be meeting for the first time, and UCF will also be playing its first game in Nebraska
? The Knights are 2-3 all-time against Missouri Valley Conference programs, but have won two-straight versus league members
? Most recently, UCF defeated Drake, 59-50, on Nov. 22, 2009, at the Glenn Wilkes Classic in Daytona Beach
? In his four years as a head coach, Donnie Jones has never faced an MVC program

Last Time Out
? UCF used an impressive second-half performance to roll to a 66-54 win over Rhode Island Monday at the UCF Arena in the CBI quarterfinals
? The Knights trailed 30-27 at halftime, but shot 68.0 percent overall in the second half when they outscored the Rams 39-24
? UCF made 17-of-25 field goals after intermission, and limited the Rams to 39.1 percent shooting ? Keith Clanton led UCF with 16 points and nine boards
? UCF dominated inside, finishing with a 44-28 edge on the glass, and scoring 48 of its 66 points in the paint

Defense Wins Championships
? The Knights are hoping strong defensive play can lead to a CBI title
? UCF has held both of its postseason opponents - St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island - to just 54 points
? The Knights were especially stingy in the second half, limiting both of the Atlantic 10 teams to only 24 points after intermission
? UCF is 11-1 in 2010-11 when holding foes to below 60 points

Balance of Power
? In addition to its tough defense, UCF has also enjoyed success in the CBI thanks to a balanced offense
? Four Knights are averaging double digits in scoring in CBI play, and six players are averaging at least 7.0 points per contest in postseason
? Keith Clanton is averaging a team-high 12.0 points in the CBI, followed by Marcus Jordan (11.0), A.J. Rompza (10.0) and Tom Herzog (10.0)

? In the win over Rhode Island, UCF's bench accounted for 34 of the Knights' 66 points
? Both A.J. Tyler (11 points) and Tom Herzog (10) totaled double figures in scoring off the bench
? UCF's reserves have been outstanding in CBI play, averaging 35.5 points in two contests

Honor Roll
? On March 7, sophomores Marcus Jordan and Keith Clanton earned All-Conference USA honors
? Jordan earned a spot on the All-C-USA Second Team, while Clanton was named to the third team
? The pair of honorees marks the first time that two UCF players have been all-league selections in the same year since 2004-05 when Gary Johnson and Josh Peppers were named to the All-Atlantic Sun Second Team

Getting to the Point
? A.J. Rompza has excelled in the postseason, as the junior point guard is third on the team in scoring in CBI play at 10.0 points per game, despite the fact that he is a reserve
? Rompza is averaging 29.5 minutes in CBI action, and paces UCF in assists with 5.0 per game
? He averaged 5.9 points and 3.0 assists during the regular season

The Return
? After suffering an injury at UAB on Feb. 19, Tom Herzog missed a pair of games, and then averaged just 1.3 points in UCF's three contests before the CBI
? The fifth-year senior, who was a member of two Final Four teams at Michigan State where he played in three career NCAA Tournament games, is feeling better and giving UCF a big boost of the bench
? Herzog is averaging 10.0 points on 83.3 (10-of-12) percent shooting in 17.5 minutes per game in the CBI

Welcome Freshman
? Prior to UCF's CBI opener against St. Bonaventure, Isaiah Sykes had played only 23 minutes and scored one point in UCF's previous four contests
? Sykes has certainly contributed on both ends of the floor in UCF's two CBI wins, averaging 7.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in 21.0 minutes of action
? His nine points against St. Bonaventure were the most since he totaled 12 versus Furman on Dec. 29