Knights Head to Southern Miss for C-USA Road Challenge


GO KNIGHTS Tristan Spurlock averaged 14.0 points in UCF's wins over SMU and Marshall. The Knights play at Southern Miss Saturday.
GO KNIGHTS
Tristan Spurlock averaged 14.0 points in UCF's wins over SMU and Marshall. The Knights play at Southern Miss Saturday.
GO KNIGHTS

Feb. 10, 2012

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By Doug Richards
UCFAthletics.com

UCF at Southern Miss
 Date Saturday, Feb. 11
 Time 5 p.m. Eastern
 Location Hattiesburg, Miss. | Reed Green Coliseum
 Television None
 Radio UCF IMG Sports Network - 740 AM
 Internet Coverage   Video/Audio | Live Stats
 Game Notes   UCF Notes
 Social Media @UCF_MBasketball   |  Facebook

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After improving to 18-6 overall and 7-3 in Conference USA earlier in the week with a win over Marshall, the UCF men's basketball team will face a tough test Saturday at league leader Southern Miss. The contest at Reed Green Coliseum in Hattiesburg, Miss., will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern.

UCF has won three-consecutive games and has already surpassed its C-USA win total from a year ago when it went 6-10 in the league. The Golden Eagles (20-4, 7-2 C-USA) are receiving votes in both national polls. Southern Miss is 10-0 at home this year.

Thanks to strong play from junior forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) and sophomore forward Isaiah Sykes (Detroit, Mich.) and a key shot late from junior guard Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.), the Knights defeated visiting Marshall, 67-60, on Wednesday. Clanton led all players with 20 points and Sykes had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

With six league games remaining, the Knights are tied for third in the C-USA standings. The top four teams in the conference receive a first-round bye at the league championship in March.

Southern Miss posted a 78-65 win over the host Knights on Jan. 28. The Golden Eagles have four players averaging double digits in scoring, led by Darnell Dodson at 13.3 points per game.

The contest will air on the UCF IMG Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from Hattiesburg.

Live video, audio and statistics will be available at UCFAthletics.com.

After meeting the Golden Eagles, the Knights will not play again until hosting East Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the UCF Arena.

Series History
• Southern Miss has a 6-4 edge in the all-time series with the Knights
• UCF will be seeking its first win in Hattiesburg since 2008 as the Knights are 1-3 at Southern Miss
• The teams met in Orlando on Jan. 28 and Southern Miss ended UCF's 16-game home winning streak with a 78-65 victory
• The Knights led by 12 points with three minutes to play in the opening half, but the Golden Eagles closed the period on an 11-0 run that was capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Darnell Dodson
• Southern Miss then outscored UCF 48-34 in the second half when it shot 50.0 percent overall and made 16-of-22 shots at the free-throw line
Keith Clanton led the Knights with 21 points
• In the last series matchup in Hattiesburg, the Golden Eagles used a 21-2 run midway through the second half to post an 86-69 victory over the No. 22 Knights on Jan. 15, 2011
• The Golden Eagles led by one point at halftime and then outscored the Knights 50-34 in the second half

Last Time Out
• Four Knights finished with double figures in scoring Wednesday as UCF held off a late Marshall rally and defeated the Thundering Herd 67-60 at the UCF Arena
• The Knights led by 14 points with 3:50 to play in the game, but Marshall refused to go away
• The Herd went on a 14-4 run and cut UCF's advantage to only two points with 48 seconds to play after Damier Pitts hit a 3-pointer
• On the Knights' next possession, Marcus Jordan drained a triple from the corner with two seconds remaining on the shot clock to extend the hosts' advantage to five points
Keith Clanton led the Knights with 20 points in the win, Jordan and Isaiah Sykes each totaled 15 points and Tristan Spurlock added 13 points off the bench

Looking at a Winner
• With six league games remaining, UCF has already topped its Conference USA victory total from a year ago as the Knights are 7-3 in the conference
• UCF went 6-10 against C-USA foes in 2010-11 and also went 6-10 in the league in 2009-10

The Away Team
• UCF is seeking its fourth Conference USA road win as the Knights are 3-2 in league away games
• Last season, the Knights went 2-6 on the road in league play
• If UCF tops Southern Miss, the Knights will tie the 2006-07 squad for the most league road victories since the program joined C-USA in 2005

Fantastic February
• UCF has won its first two games this February, and the Knights are hoping that the month is a good one
• Since joining Conference USA in 2005, UCF has only began February 2-0 on one other occasion - 2006-07
• Last year, UCF went 4-3 during the month

18 is Not Enough
• With 18 victories to its credit, UCF needs only one win to match its regular-season win total from last year
• In Donnie Jones' first campaign at UCF, the Knights went 19-10 during the regular season in 2010-11

The Avengers
• When UCF meets Southern Miss, the Knights will be seeking to avenge a loss to the Golden Eagles on Jan. 28
• The Knights are 1-0 against league teams that they have previously lost to this year after topping Marshall on Wednesday
• The Thundering Herd defeated UCF in West Virginia in January

Getting to the Glass
• A key to UCF's success in Conference USA play has been its rebounding, and the team ranks second in league games at 37.9 boards per game
• Last year, despite having a bigger team with players like 7-footer Tom Herzog, UCF averaged 33.4 rebounds in C-USA contests
• UCF owns a +5.2 rebound margin in league play and is averaging 14.5 offensive boards per game

Dynamic Duo
• In juniors Marcus Jordan and Keith Clanton, UCF has the top scoring duo in Conference USA
• The pair is averaging a combined 30.9 points per game as Jordan ranks seventh in the league in points per game (15.5) and Clanton is eighth (15.3)

Follow the Leader
• As Isaiah Sykes goes, so go the Knights
• Sykes has 15 double-digit scoring performances this year, and UCF is 14-1 in those contests
• He is averaging 13.1 points and 6.7 boards in UCF's wins compared to 7.0 points and 5.7 rebounds in losses

Going In
Isaiah Sykes excelled in UCF's last two games, wins over SMU and Marshall
• He averaged 15.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 68.0 percent from the floor and 7-of-8 (87.0 percent) at the free-throw line
• Half of his 18 rebounds came on the offensive end against the Mustangs and Thundering Herd

Care Package
A.J. Rompza is continuing to take good care of the ball as the point guard recorded four assists with no turnovers in Wednesday's win over Marshall
• In UCF's previous game, a victory at SMU, Rompza had five assists without a turnover
• Rompza leads Conference USA with a 3.6 assist-turnover ratio in league play
• The senior has recorded 43 assists in conference contests with only 12 turnovers

Man of Steal
A.J. Rompza is averaging 3.0 steals in Conference USA games to lead the league
• Rompza ranks third in UCF history with 195 career steals and is tied for 10th in C-USA history in the category

Spur of the Moment
Tristan Spurlock has been huge in a reserve role in UCF's last two outings as the sophomore averaged 14.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting in 29.0 minutes per contest in wins over SMU and Marshall
• In the Knights' previous two games before SMU and Marshall, he averaged only 3.5 points on 18.2 percent shooting

Up Next
• UCF does not have a game scheduled for Wednesday and will return to action with a home contest next Saturday vs. East Carolina
• The Knights rolled to an 81-63 victory over the host Pirates last month

 

 

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