Feb. 26, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - With just four regular-season contests remaining in the 2007-08 campaign, the UCF men's basketball team will host Tulane on Wednesday. Tip-off for the Conference USA contest at the new UCF Arena is set for 7 p.m.
The Knights (14-12, 7-5 C-USA) are currently tied for fourth in the conference standings. The top-four squads at end of the regular season receive a first-round bye at the C-USA Championship.
UCF's final two home games of the year are scheduled for this week. Head coach Kirk Speraw's team will play its home finale on Saturday against Rice.
Tulane enters Wednesday's contest 15-11 overall and 5-7 in league action.
Tickets for the game are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the UCFAA Box Office at Bright House Networks Stadium. On Wednesday, tickets can be purchased at the new UCF Arena.
Students are admitted free with a valid UCF ID.
The game will air on the UCF ISP Sports Network and 740 AM in Orlando. Marc Daniels will have the call from the new UCF Arena and former Knight Troy Lindbeck will provide color commentary.
Live audio, video and statistics will be available at www.ucfathletics.com.
Kirk Speraw (Iowa, 1980) is in his 15th season as UCF's head coach. He owns a 245-199 record at UCF. In his 18th year as a head coach, he has a 327-220 mark. In 2006-07, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year.
Dave Dickerson (Maryland, 1990) is 44-41 in his second campaign as a head coach.
The all-time series with Tulane is tied, 2-2. Since the Knights joined Conference USA in 2005, each team has recorded a victory in the series.
The squads met last year in New Orleans and the Green Wave posted an 86-80 win despite 23 points from UCF's Lavell Payne. Josh Peppers added 21 points for the Knights and Dave Noel recorded 15 points and six boards. Tulane shot 55.6 percent from the floor in the win.
In Orlando, the Knights won the lone series matchup, 72-51 in February 2006. No UCF player scored more than 11 points, but the Knights limited Tulane to just 36.4 percent shooting from the field and forced 22 turnovers.
The Green Wave, who recorded non-conference wins over Georgia, LSU and St. John's, have lost five contests in a row. On Saturday, host Tulane dropped a 70-59 game to Southern Miss.
Tulane features one of Conference USA's best post players in Andrew Gomez. He is eighth in the league in scoring (14.5) and leads Tulane in rebounds per game (5.9).
The squad is averaging 67.2 points, while allowing 65.7 per game. Tulane is second in C-USA in field-goal percentage defense (39.9).
UP NEXT FOR THE KNIGHTS
The Knights will play their final home game of the year on Saturday, hosting Rice. UCF has a 4-2 edge in the all-time series with the Owls. On Feb. 16, Jermaine Taylor scored a game-high 22 points to lift the Knights to a 60-53 win over Rice in Houston.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite a 20-point performance from Mike O'Donnell, the Knights fell 71-66 at Marshall on Saturday. The hosts led 25-24 at intermission and pulled away in the second half by shooting 55.6 percent from deep and making 15-of-18 free-throw attempts.
HAPPY TO BE HOME
After facing Marshall in West Virginia on Saturday, the Knights are happy to be home. UCF has excelled offensively in six Conference USA games in Orlando this season.
The squad is averaging 92.5 points against league foes at the new UCF Arena. The team is shooting 52.2 percent overall and 41.9 percent from 3-point range in C-USA play in Orlando, while dishing out an average of 19.5 assists.
In six C-USA road contests, the Knights have averaged 64.3 points. The squad is shooting 42.0 percent from the floor and 32.1 percent from deep on the road in league action.
On two occasions this season, UCF has scored over 100 points at home against C-USA foes.
THANK GOODNESS IT'S WEDNESDAY
This year, the Knights are 4-1 when playing on a Wednesday, with all of the games occurring at home. In those contests, the squad averaged 91.4 points and shot 57.0 percent from the floor and 43.2 percent from deep.
In league games, the Knights pace Conference USA in field goal percentage. The squad is shooting 47.6 percent from the floor against conference foes.
In Conference USA play, the Knights are averaging 77.9 points, good for second in the league behind Memphis (79.0). UCF has scored over 80 points against league foes on five occasions.
In non-conference games in 2007-08, UCF averaged 71.6 points. Last year, the Knights averaged 69.6 points in C-USA contests.
The Knights have won 10 home contests at the new UCF Arena this season. In each of the last five seasons, UCF has claimed at least 10 victories at home. In 2006-07, the team went 15-1 in its final campaign at the old UCF Arena.
Dating back to the start of the 2003-04 campaign, UCF is 59-14 at home.
Thanks to the new UCF Arena, the Knights now have one of the finest on-campus facilities in college basketball. The 10,000-seat venue provides UCF fans with comfortable seating, 16 luxury suites and numerous concession options.
In the Knights' first campaign at the new arena, nine of the top-11 single-game attendance totals in program history have already been recorded. A school-record 7,097 fans watched UCF defeat Tulsa on Jan. 12.
UCF has played 14 home games and a school-record 68,246 fans have attended the contests for an average of 4,875 per game. A year ago, a then-school record 43,296 fans watched the Knights in 16 home contests at the old UCF Arena.
After attempting just four field goals and scoring two points in the Knights' win at Rice on Feb. 16, Mike O'Donnell has been hot offensively. In UCF's last two games, he averaged 21.0 points and 4.0 assists.
The senior point guard hit 10 triples in the contests. Against East Carolina on Feb. 20, he totaled 22 points. In Saturday's contest at Marshall, O'Donnell recorded a team-high 20 points.
THE GIVING SEASON
The Knights have been sharing the ball in Conference USA play. The squad paces the league, averaging 16.1 assists versus conference foes. The Knights have recorded at least 15 assists in three-consecutive games.
On two occasions against league foes, UCF has recorded 25 assists. Three Knights have registered at least 70 assists in 2007-08, led by Chip Cartwright with 95. He is ninth in the league in assists per game (3.7).
This season in league play, the Knights are second in Conference USA in assist/turnover ratio (1.10), trailing only Memphis (1.33). Chip Cartwright is second in C-USA action in assist/turnover ratio at 2.64. Mike O'Donnell (2.35) is fifth in the category and Dave Noel (1.75) ranks ninth.
UCF's 12 losses this year have come by an average of 6.7 points. Five of the losses were by three points or less and three defeats came in overtime.
The Knights fell to No. 18 Kansas State and traditional power Connecticut by a combined five points. Fifteen of UCF's total games this season have been decided by 10 points or less.
UCF is starting three guards in 2007-08 and the trio of perimeter players - Mike O'Donnell, Dave Noel and Jermaine Taylor - have accounted for 61.7 percent of the Knights' points. Taylor (21.3) paces the Knights in scoring, followed by Noel (12.8) and O'Donnell (11.8).
The three players have combined to make 165 of UCF's 193 3-pointers this season.
In his first two campaigns with the Knights, Dave Noel rarely shot the ball from 3-point range. He attempted 79 triples, making 26 (32.9 percent).
Now in his third year at UCF, the senior has not been shy about shooting from deep this season and the results have paid off for the Knights. Noel has made 32-of-68 attempts from behind-the-arc in 2007-08. He paces Conference USA in 3-point field goal percentage (47.1).
Dave Noel proved shown his versatility in UCF's last four games. During that span, he either led the squad in points and/or rebounds in each game. At No. 1 Memphis on Feb. 9, he dished out a team-high four assists. He followed that game by pacing the Knights in both categories at Rice on Feb. 16 (8 rebounds/7 assists).
Noel grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in the win over East Carolina on Feb. 20 and then led the squad at Marshall on Saturday with eight rebounds and five assists.
SO MUCH BETTER
In each season at UCF, Dave Noel has exhibited great improvement offensively. This year, he is second on the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game. A year ago, Noel averaged 9.1 points. In his first campaign with the Knights after transferring from UNC-Wilmington, Noel totaled 2.8 points per game as the team's backup point guard in 2005-06.
In 2007-08, Noel is shooting 51.2 percent overall and 47.1 from 3-point range.
In the win over East Carolina on Feb. 20, Mike O'Donnell moved to second on UCF's career 3-pointers list. He has connected on 189 treys in three years with the Knights. Jason Thornton (1998-02) is the school's all-time leader in the category with 220 3-pointers. O'Donnell's former teammate Josh Peppers (2003-07) is third with 180 triples.
This year, Mike O'Donnell has connected on 69 3-pointers, which ranks eighth on the school's single-season register. Dexter Lyons hit 72 in 2003-04, which is good for seventh on the list.
O'Donnell's 187 3-point field goal attempts this season rank seventh at UCF.
In 2007-08, 69 of O'Donnell's 97 (72.1 percent) made field goals have come from 3-point range.
MORE THAN HALF THE BATTLE
Mike Battle played well off of the bench for the Knights in the squad's last two games. He averaged 9.0 points and 3.5 boards in contests against East Carolina and Marshall.
The senior made four triples in the two games and shot 63.6 percent overall.
Twelve of Battle's 18 made field goals this year have come from 3-point range.