Jan. 10, 2012
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By Doug Richards
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Off to a sensational start in Conference USA play, the UCF men's basketball team will be seeking to extend a pair of winning streaks Wednesday when the Knights host Houston at 7 p.m. UCF (12-3, 2-0 C-USA) has won four-straight games overall and also owns a 14-game winning streak at home.
The Knights played their most complete game of the season over the weekend, rolling to an 81-63 victory at East Carolina. Four UCF players recorded double digits in scoring, led by sophomore guard Isaiah Sykes (Detroit, Mich.), who totaled 20 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Senior guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) had two incredible performances last week when he averaged 13.5 points, 6.5 assists, 5.0 steals and 4.0 boards while shooting a remarkable 76.9 percent from the field. On Monday, he received the first C-USA Player of the Week honor of his career.
Special C-USA ticket packages, which include tickets to UCF's eight remaining home contests, are still available and start at only $64. Call (407) UCF-1000 or visit UCFAthletics.com to learn more. On Wednesday, tickets to the Houston contest will be available outside the arena at the box office.
The first 2,000 students to enter the arena will receive a free 2011-12 Knightmare t-shirt. UCF students are admitted free to all home games with a valid school ID.
With the spring semester starting earlier this week, and dozens of evening classes scheduled for Wednesday on campus, fans should arrive early. Parking is available for $5 in Garage D and Garage H. If those garages are full, fans can park in the E lots next to Bright House Networks Stadium.
The Knights are 9-0 in Orlando this year. Junior guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) is averaging a team-high 17.2 points, good for second in C-USA. He needs only 20 points to become just the 16th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark.
Houston enters the contest 9-6 overall and 1-1 in league play. The Cougars faced a difficult non-conference schedule and recorded a win over Arkansas.
Bright House Sports Network will televise the game live in central Florida. David Baumann will handle the play-by-play duties and will be joined by former Duke star and NBA veteran Christian Laettner.
The contest will also air on the UCF IMG Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels and former UCF guard Taylor Young will call all of the action. Live video and statistics are available at UCFAthletics.com.
Houston has an 8-4 edge in the all-time series with the Knights and have won three of five contests against UCF in Orlando
Last year, the host Cougars snapped UCF's 14-game winning streak to open the year with a 76-71 victory at Hofheinz Pavilion
The Knights, who were ranked 18th nationally at the time, nearly overcame an 18-point deficit, cutting Houston's lead to five points on three occasions in the second half, but could get no closer
The Cougars led 36-21 at the break
UCF was led by Keith Clanton with 13 points and nine boards
Each of the last four games in the UCF-Houston series have been decided by seven or fewer points
In three career contests vs. Houston, Marcus Jordan is averaging 17.0 points
UCF and Houston will continue to meet in the future as both programs will join the BIG EAST in 2013 along with fellow Conference USA school SMU
Last Time Out
The Knights never trailed Saturday in an 81-63 victory at East Carolina that was easily the team's most complete performance of the season
UCF shot a season-high 52.2 percent overall and had four players register double figures in scoring, led by Isaiah Sykes, who scored 20 points to go with 10 boards
A.J. Rompza had a dominating performance, finishing with 16 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five steals in 39 minutes
The Knights, who snapped a four-game losing streak to the Pirates, finished with a 46-29 rebounding advantage
The Knights are looking to start Conference USA play 3-0 for the first time since 2008-09
A year ago, UCF opened conference action with a victory over Marshall, then dropped eight-straight contests
Happy at Home
UCF has won 14-consecutive games at home
The Knights have not suffered a defeat in Orlando since falling on Feb. 9, 2011, to Memphis
This year, UCF is 9-0 at the UCF Arena
Associate head coach Shawn Finney will guide the Knights against Houston
He also led the Knights last Wednesday vs. Tulane in Orlando and at East Carolina Saturday
Head coach Donnie Jones will be sitting out the third of three Conference USA games as part of a school-imposed suspension that was announced in November following an NCAA investigation
Gunning for Five
For the second time this season, UCF owns a four-game winning streak
The Knights also won four-straight contests in December
Cleaning the Glass
UCF has dominated the glass in Conference USA play as the Knights own a staggering +14.0 rebounding margin
The Knights are averaging 44.5 boards in league games, compared to 30.5 for their opponents
On the season, the Knights own a +5.4 rebounding margin
UCF has limited its last three opponents to an average of 56.7 points, with only East Carolina (63) going over the 60-point mark
East Carolina, Tulane and Rhode Island shot a combined 37.3 percent against the Knights
Best Week Ever
A.J. Rompza had start to Conference USA play, leading the Knights to wins over Tulane and host East Carolina
The point guard averaged 13.5 points, 6.5 assists, 5.0 steals and 4.0 assists in the victories
Rompza shot 76.9 percent overall (10-of-13) and 85.7 percent from 3-point range (6-of-7)
Welcome to the Club
During the second half at East Carolina Saturday, Keith Clanton became the 15th player in UCF history to reach the 1,000-point mark for their career
Clanton has totaled 1,008 points as a Knight
He hit the 1,000-point plateau in his 80th game
Clanton became the 10th player to record 1,000 points since UCF moved to the Divison I level in 1984
Before Clanton, the last player to hit the mark was Jermaine Taylor, who scored his 1,000th career point in his 82nd game as a junior in 2008
Taylor finished with a school D-I record 1,979 points
Clanton already ranks 10th on the UCF D-I scoring chart
A Block Party
Keith Clanton needs only six blocks to move to first on the UCF career swats list
The junior has 135 blocks, and Ken Leeks is first on the list with 141 blocks from 1988-92
Clanton is averaging 2.0 blocks on the year, and 4.0 blocks
Just one game after Keith Clanton hit the milestone, Marcus Jordan could join UCF's 1,000-point club vs. Houston
He needs only 20 points to notch 1,000 for his career
Jordan has appeared in 78 career contests and has 980 points
Marcus Jordan has excelled during games at the UCF Arena this season
In nine home games, he is averaging 19.4 points on 43.6 percent shooting
Jordan is averaging 14.5 points on 36.6 percent shooting in road and neutral contests
Man of Steal
A.J. Rompza needs five assists to move to fourth on the UCF career register
Rompza has 174 steals as a Knight, and Sinua Phillips (1990-94) is fourth with 179
This year, Rompza is averaging 4.3 assists per game
The Knights will return to the road and face Marshall Saturday evening
UCF and the Thundering Herd will also meet in Orlando on Feb. 8