UCF to Conclude Regular Season at Marshall

March 4, 2011

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By Doug Richards

Complete Release in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Having won five of its last six games, the UCF men's basketball team will conclude its regular season on Saturday with a Conference USA contest against Marshall in Huntington, W.Va. The game at the Cam Henderson Center will begin at 7 p.m.

The Knights (19-9, 6-9 C-USA) claimed their third-straight victory this past Wednesday with a 51-48 come-from-behind win over visiting SMU. Junior guard Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) hit four 3-pointers and finished with 17 points in the winning effort.

Head coach Donnie Jones' team has built an impressive résumé this season. Now in contention for a spot in the postseason, UCF is 7-5 against top-100 RPI squads. The Knights are listed at 53rd in the CBSSports.com RPI, and the team's strength of schedule is the 47th toughest in the nation.

UCF-Marshall 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 Huntington, and pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. Live video, audio and statistics will be available on UCFAthletics.com.

The game against the Thundering Herd (20-10, 8-7) will bring Jones back to Marshall, where he spent three years as the program's head coach.

Marshall has won five of its last six games, and is 13-3 at home this season. The Thundering Herd are led by C-USA Freshman of the Year candidate DeAndre Kane. The guard is averaging 15.2 points per outing.

After facing Marshall, the Knights will open play at the C-USA Championship in El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday.

Series Record Marshall, 6-5
Last Meeting UCF 65, Marshall 58 (Jan. 5, 2010 in Orlando)

? UCF and Marshall continue their entertaining series in Huntington, where the Thundering Herd have won four of five contests against the Knights
? The last four games in the series have all been decided by single digits, most recently a 65-58 UCF win over visiting Marshall on Jan. 5
? The game was the league opener for both squads, and was played in front of 9,094 fans at the UCF Arena
? Marcus Jordan led UCF with 26 points, but it was the Knights' defense that was the difference
? UCF blocked 11 shots, held Marshall to 28 percent shooting in the second half and 33 percent for the game and allowed just two 3-pointers
? The last series matchup in Huntington was one of the most memorable contests in conference history as the Herd outlasted UCF, 121-115, in three overtimes on Feb. 27, 2010
? Marshall led 49-32 at the break, but UCF refused to go away
? 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 three career games versus Marshall, Jordan has averaged 21.0 points
? The contest in Huntington will allow Donnie Jones the opportunity to coach at the location where he spent the last three years as Marshall's head coach
? A West Virginia native who earned his master's degree at Marshall, Jones compiled a 55-41 record with the Herd
? He led Marshall to one of its finest campaigns in program history last year as the Herd went 24-10 overall and 11-5 in Conference USA play

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

Comeback Kids
? UCF has trailed at the half in each of its last two games, but rallied for victories
? On Wednesday versus visiting SMU, the Knights trailed 23-16 at the break, but outscored the Mustangs 35-25 in the second half to record a 51-48 win
? Last Saturday, UCF was down 33-25 to Southern Miss at home, but rallied for a 65-64 triumph

Last Time Out
? Isaac Sosa scored 17 points, including 12 in the second half, to help the Knights rally for a 51-48 victory over SMU at the UCF Arena Wednesday
? UCF trailed by as many as 10 points after intermission, but used a 25-4 run over an 11-minute span in the second half to take the lead
? A late surge by the Mustangs closed the gap to just three points in the final seconds, but two open looks from deep, including a 3-point attempt from Jeremiah Samarrippas with three seconds left, rimmed out as the Knights held on for the victory
? Sosa, who came off the bench along with usual starter P.J. Gaynor due to senior night, made 4-of-7 3-pointers
? SMU led 23-16 at halftime after UCF shot just 26.1 percent in the opening stanza
? The Knights recovered to shoot 52.6 percent overall and 85.7 (6-of-7) percent from deep in the final 20 minutes

Best of the New
? Enjoying unprecedented success under Donnie Jones, UCF (19-9) has the second-best record among teams with new head coaches in the country
? Fifty-four teams began the season with new head coaches, and Marshall, under Tom Herrion, ranks third on the list with a 20-10 mark

The Away Team
? UCF is 4-5 on the road this season, but has won two of its last three away contests
? Last year, the Knights won three road games, finishing with a 3-9 mark away from Orlando

? Having recorded 19 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 seven contests have been decided by a total of 20 points
? UCF has played 15 Conference USA games, and the winning margin in 12 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 six conference victories have come by an average of 3.5 points
? On the season, UCF is 11-6 in games decided by 10 or fewer points

? Marcus Jordan leads Conference USA with 176 free-throw attempts
? He has hit 143 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 sixth in C-USA in free-throw percentage (81.8)
? In UCF's last six games, which included five victories, Jordan made 30-of-32 (93.8 percent) of his free-throw attempts

Little Big Man
? 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, 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
? Rompza followed that performance with 10 points on 2-of-3 shooting from deep in Wednesday's win over SMU
? In UCF's last four contests, the Chicago native averaged 9.5 points while shooting 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) from deep in 28.8 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

Block Party
? Tom Herzog has blocked 54 shots this season in only 24 games, and already ranks fourth on the school single-season blocks register
? The 7-footer is averaging 2.3 blocks, which leads Conference USA and ranks 34th in the country
? Although he is in his first and only year in Orlando, he needs just two blocks to enter the top 10 on the UCF career blocks list

Up Next
? UCF will open the Conference USA Championship Wednesday in El Paso, Texas
? The tournament will mark UCF's third trip to El Paso this season