Nov. 11, 2011
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By Doug Richards
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will open the 2011-12 regular season Saturday with a home contest against Saint Thomas. The game at the UCF Arena will begin at 5 p.m.
The Knights are coming off of one of the most memorable campaigns in program history a year ago. UCF started the season 14-0, recorded non-league wins over No. 16 Florida, Miami, USF and Princeton and entered the national rankings for the first time. UCF is led by junior forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.), who was selected to the Preseason All-Conference USA First Team.
Season tickets, which start at just $96, are currently available by visiting UCFAthletics.com or calling (407) UCF-1000. Tickets for the UCF-Saint Thomas game will be available at the UCF Arena box office Saturday. All UCF students are admitted free with a valid school ID.
The Knights had their lone exhibition game last Saturday, and posted an 81-66 victory over visiting West Virginia Tech. Clanton recorded 28 points and 15 rebounds in the winning effort, and sophomore guard Isaiah Sykes (Detroit, Mich.) added 18 points, 10 boards and eight assists.
An NAIA program from Miami, Saint Thomas went 15-13 a year ago.
Saturday's contest will air on the UCF IMG Sports Network and 540 AM in Orlando. Scott Adams will have the call from the UCF Arena. Live video will be available at UCFAthletics.com.
The game against the Bobcats is the first of 17 regular-season contests at home for the Knights in 2011-12.
UCF has a 20-5 edge in the all-time series with Saint Thomas, but the programs have not met since Dec. 18, 1997, when the host Knights rolled to a 94-60 victory
In that matchup, UCF's Mark Jones poured in 42 points, which was a program Division I record until Jermaine Taylor surpassed that total in 2009
The Knights and Saint Thomas will be meeting for only the second time since UCF moved to the Division II level in 1984
With only eight players available, the Knights posted an 81-66 exhibition game victory over visiting West Virginia Tech last Saturday
Keith Clanton led all players with 28 points and 15 rebounds, and Isaiah Sykes added 18 points, 10 boards and eight assists in the win
UCF shot 45.2 percent overall and committed just 12 turnovers in the win over the NAIA Golden Bears
The game versus West Virginia Tech served as the Knights' lone exhibition contest
The Knights have won eight-consecutive season openers
UCF's last loss to open the season came on Nov. 22, 2002, at Navy
The Knights have not dropped a season opener at home since Nov. 19, 1999, when they lost to Miami at the old UCF Arena
A year ago, UCF rolled to a 115-61 victory over visiting West Florida in the Knights' first game under Donnie Jones
The 115 points tied for first on the school single-game scoring list
Marcus Jordan totaled 28 points and Keith Clanton added 24 points in the victory
UCF has not lost a non-conference game at home under Donnie Jones
The Knights went 11-0 against non-league foes at the UCF Arena in 2010-11
Included in the win total were College Basketball Invitational triumphs over St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island
UCF has only lost one non-conference game under Jones as the team went 15-1 against non-Conference USA opponents last season
The Knights only loss to a non-league foe came in the semifinals of the CBI at Creighton
Flavor of the Month
UCF has won 25-straight contests at home during the month of November
The Knights' last home loss during the month came on Nov. 19, 1999, against Miami
The game against Saint Thomas is one of two for the Knights this November at the UCF Arena
The game against Saint Thomas is the first of three contests in seven days for the Knights
On Monday, the Knights will play at Florida State in Tallahassee
UCF will conclude the busy slate on Friday by hosting High Point
A Hectic November
In 2010-11, UCF played five games in November, with four coming at home and the other just an hour away in DeLand at Stetson
This November is different for the Knights, who will have a pair of home games during the month, play at Florida State and also play three games in the Bahamas in the Battle 4 Atlantis
The Knights have won six-straight games against schools from Florida
Since moving into the UCF Arena prior to the 2007-08 campaign, UCF is 9-1 against programs from the Sunshine State at home
A year ago, the Knights won 21 games, and are now seeking their second-consecutive 20-win campaign
UCF has not posted back-to-back 20-win seasons since 2002-05
The Knights return two of the premier players in Conference USA, and both Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan earned preseason honors from the league
Clanton was named to the Preseason All-C-USA First Team, and Jordan was named to the second team
Clanton was just the second UCF player to garner a spot on the preseason first team since the Knights joined C-USA in 2005
Jermaine Taylor was selected to the first team before the 2008-09 campaign
UCF will meet at least 16 squads that participated in the 2011 postseason this year
The slate includes NCAA Tournament squads Florida State, defending national champion UConn or UNC-Asheville, Old Dominion, Memphis and UAB
The Knights will also play NIT teams College of Charleston and UTEP
UCF will head to Tallahassee to meet Florida State Monday evening
The game will air on ESPN3 and will serve as the first meeting between the two schools since 1988
The Seminoles, who advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, were selected to finish third in the ACC preseason poll and are receiving votes in both national polls
The game will mark the earliest date for a road game for the Knights in program history
Last season, UCF's first road game came on Nov. 23 at Stetson