Feb. 9, 2007
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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will be seeking its third-straight victory when it hosts Marshall for a Conference USA contest on Saturday. Tip-off at the UCF Arena is set for noon.
The Golden Knights (17-6, 6-3) are 11-1 in Orlando this year and are currently tied for second in the C-USA standings with Houston and Rice. Marshall is 9-14 overall and 4-5 in league play.
A special Weekend Night Out ticket deal is available for the game. Two general admission tickets, two soft drinks, two hot dogs and one popcorn can be purchased for only $20. At halftime, one fan will be selected to participate in the "Get Coke Cash Crazy" in-game promotion. The fan, who will participate in a shooting contest, will have a shot at winning $10,000. The promotion is sponsored by Coca-Cola.
The UCF Student Government Association will select a student who exhibits the most school spirit as its "Fan of the Game." The student will receive a $250 scholarship.
Tickets for the game are available by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 407-839-3900. All UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID.
The game will be televised live regionally on Comcast Sports South. Matt Stewart will handle the play-by-play duties and Tom Herrion will provide the color commentary.
UCF-Marshall will be broadcast live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 THE TEAM AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call live from courtside. Live audio and statistics will be available at www.ucfathletics.com.
Series History: Marshall has a 2-1 edge in the all-time series, but the Golden Knights posted a 78-71 win over the host Thundering Herd on Jan. 13. Mike O'Donnell hit four 3-pointers after halftime and paced UCF with 20 points. Dave Noel went 8-of-8 at the free-throw line and totaled 17 points. The Golden Knights shot 51.9 percent overall and 46.7 percent from 3-point range. Marshall was led by Markel Humphrey with 25 points. In three games versus the Thundering Herd, Josh Peppers is averaging 16.7 points. On Jan. 11, 2006, UCF and Marshall met for the first time and the visiting Thundering Herd recorded a 73-69 win in the Conference USA debut for both schools.
About Marshall: The Thundering Herd have won two of their last three contests, but fell 63-60 at Tulsa on Wednesday. Travis Aikens led Marshall with 18 points and nine rebounds. Marshall finished the game with a 41-36 edge on the glass. Markel Humphrey leads the team in scoring (14.1) and on the boards (6.4). The Thundering Herd are averaging 67.8 points, but are allowing 71.2 per game. The team is shooting 40.5 percent from the field.
UCF Last Time Out: Josh Peppers recorded a game-high 24 points to lift visiting UCF to a 67-49 win at East Carolina on Wednesday. He went 9-of-10 from the field and connected on four treys in the win. Peppers had a personal 10-0 spurt as UCF pulled away from the Pirates with a 16-5 run midway through the second half. In 26 minutes off of the bench, Jermaine Taylor added 17 points for the Golden Knights.
UCF-Marshall Connections: Marshall assistant coach Josh Postorino attended Clearwater High School in the 1990s. UCF forward Jacob Loucks also attended Clearwater. Loucks played high school basketball with Postorino's younger brother, Luke.
You Play to Win the Game: With its 17 victories, UCF has already eclipsed its win total from a year ago. In 2005-06, the Golden Knights went 14-15 overall. Through 23 contests last season, UCF had a 10-13 record.
Long-Term Success: Dating back to the start of the 2002-03 season, UCF has won 101 games, a mark that ranks 31st nationally through games of Feb. 7. The Golden Knights also rank second in the Sunshine State behind Florida (124) during that span.
New Kids on the Block: Since joining Conference USA with five other programs prior to last year, UCF has recorded 13 league victories, the second-highest total among the new members. UTEP has posted 16 C-USA wins during the span. Rice (12), Tulsa (11), Marshall (9) and SMU (6) follow UCF. With the move, the Golden Knights faced the biggest increase in competition among the new schools, having previously competed in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Friendly Confines: UCF is 11-1 at home this season. The Golden Knights began the campaign 10-0 at the UCF Arena. In Orlando, the team is shooting 52.2 percent overall and 44.1 percent from deep, while averaging 77.6 points. UCF has been less than hospitable to its visitors as opponents are shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from 3-point range in Orlando. At home, the Golden Knights boast a +16.1 scoring margin.
Getting Defensive: UCF's improved play on the offensive end has gotten much of the attention this season, but the Golden Knights have been strong on the defensive end as well. UCF has held its last two opponents well below their scoring averages. Tulsa scored 53 points against the Golden Knights on Feb. 3, 19 points below its average. On Wednesday, East Carolina mustered just 49 points. The Pirates entered the contest averaging 60.5 points. The Golden Knights are fourth in Conference USA in field-goal percentage defense (40.2) and 3-point field-goal percentage defense (32.7).
Free Falling: The Golden Knights made 15-of-16 (93.8 percent) shots at the free-throw line in the win at East Carolina. The mark was good for fourth on UCF's single-game free-throw percentage register.
Taking the Charity: Last year, the Golden Knights were less than solid at the free-throw line, shooting 64.3 percent. This season, a pair of Golden Knights are in Conference USA's top-10 as the squad is connecting on 72.2 percent of its attempts at the charity stripe. That mark is good for second in C-USA. Dave Noel (82.8 percent) ranks fifth and Josh Peppers is seventh at 77.8 percent.
Getting Offensive: Last season, UCF scored more than 70 points in a contest only five times. In 2006-07, the Golden Knights have already scored at least 70 points 14 times. After averaging just 63.3 points per game last season, the Golden Knights are scoring 74 points per contest this year. The squad eclipsed the 80-point mark only once a year ago, but has already scored more than 80 points in a game on seven occasions this season. UCF owns a +8.7 scoring margin.
Peppers Gets Hot: In UCF's last four contests, Josh Peppers has been impressive offensively. During the span, the senior forward is averaging 16.5 points and is shooting 52.5 percent overall and 50 percent from 3-point range. In Conference USA play, he is averaging a team-best 14.3 points. Peppers has scored in double-figures in six of nine league games and has three 20-point performances against C-USA foes.
Points Add Up for Peppers: With 24 points at East Carolina on Wednesday, Josh Peppers moved into ninth on UCF's all-time scoring list with 1,242 points. Dan Faison, who played for the Golden Knights from 1982-85, is eighth on the scoring register with 1,283 points. Peppers scored 12 points in the win over Florida Atlantic on Dec. 9 to become just the 13th 1,000-point scorer in program history.
Saturday Success: The Golden Knights are 8-0 this season when playing on Saturday. The team is 4-0 against Conference USA foes on Saturday.
Three the Easy Way: The Golden Knights are shooting 40.1 percent from 3-point range this year. The mark paces Conference USA and ranks 18th nationally. UCF has two of the most accurate shooters from deep in the conference. Mike O'Donnell is second at 45 percent, followed at third by Jermaine Taylor (44.9).
At the Half: The Golden Knights are 14-1 when leading at halftime this season. UCF has led at intermission in six of its nine Conference USA contests this year.
Full House: When UCF hosted Memphis on Jan. 31, a school-record 4,805 fans were on hand, giving the Golden Knights the first sellout in program history. Attendance is up for UCF this season. The team is averaging 2,558 fans per game. A year ago, the Golden Knights averaged 1,541 spectators at home. Through 12 home contests this season, a school-record 30,695 fans have cheered on the Golden Knights. The previous single-season high was 25,062 in 1993-94. Four of the top-15 crowds in program history have already been recorded in 2006-07, with the first (Memphis - 4,805), fourth (Rice - 3,807) and eighth (SMU - 3,151) largest crowds all coming during Conference USA play.
Taylor-Made: A year ago, Jermaine Taylor scored 130 points as a freshman, seeing time in all 29 of UCF's games. In 23 contests in 2006-07, the sophomore has totaled 323 points and leads UCF at 14 points per game. He has paced UCF in scoring 10 times. A year ago, the guard scored in double-figures just four times. In 2006-07, he has totaled double-digits in points in 17 of the Golden Knights' 23 games. He has made 53 triples this season after canning 17 a year ago. Last season, Taylor shot 39.5 percent overall and 30.4 percent from deep. He is currently hitting 50.7 percent of his field-goal attempts and is shooting 44.9 percent from behind-the-arc.
This Date in UCF History: In 2005, Josh Peppers led UCF with 19 points and five assists in its 71-62 victory at Stetson. Gary Johnson added 16 points in the win.
Up Next: The Golden Knights begin a two-game road swing on Wednesday at Tulane. The squads will be meeting in New Orleans for the first time as Conference USA foes. UCF leads the all-time series, 2-1. Last year, the Golden Knights claimed a 72-51 victory over the Green Wave in Orlando on Feb. 11, 2006. Josh Peppers paced UCF with 11 points.