Knights to Begin Tough Road Swing at USF Wednesday


GO KNIGHTS A.J. Tyler will play close to home when the Knights meet USF in Tampa Wednesday.
GO KNIGHTS
A.J. Tyler will play close to home when the Knights meet USF in Tampa Wednesday.
GO KNIGHTS

Dec. 15, 2009

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By Doug Richards
UCFAthletics.com

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will begin a difficult two-game road swing Wednesday when the Knights face host USF in Tampa. Tip-off from the Sun Dome is set for 7 p.m.

The Knights are off to a strong 7-2 start this season. Head coach Kirk Speraw's squad will be facing the first of two-consecutive BIG EAST teams when UCF meets the Bulls (7-2). On Sunday, the Knights will play at No. 14 Connecticut.

The game at USF will serve as a homecoming for junior forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.), who is second on the team in points per game (11.4). Sophomore guard Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) paces the Knights in scoring, averaging 12.3 per contest. Freshman forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.), who is averaging 9.1 points and a team-high 6.7 boards, made his first career start in UCF's win over Bethune-Cookman last Saturday.

Wednesday's game will be televised live regionally on Bright House Sports Network and will also be available on ESPN360.com. CSS will air the game on a tape-delayed basis throughout the southeast, starting at 9 p.m.

The contest from Tampa will air on the UCF-ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels will provide color commentary, and will be joined by former UCF guard Mike O'Donnell on the broadcast. Live audio is also available on UCFAthletics.com.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

UCF-USF Series Information

  • UCF and the Bulls will be meeting for the third-consecutive season
  • On Dec. 6, 2008, Jermaine Taylor recorded 30 points as UCF beat USF for the first time since 1994, posting a 71-63 win over the Bulls before 6,695 fans at the UCF Arena
  • The Knights limited USF to just six points in the final 10 minutes of the game
  • Dominique Jones paced the Bulls with 31 points
  • USF has an 18-5 edge in the all-time series
  • The Bulls have a 9-2 advantage against the Knights in Tampa
  • In the program's last matchup in Tampa, USF held on for a 75-67 win over the Knights on Dec. 1, 2007
  • Taylor led UCF with 20 points, but Jones scored 30 points to lead the Bulls to the victory
    • In the program's last matchup in Tampa, USF held on for a 75-67 win over the Knights on Dec. 1, 2007
    • Taylor led UCF with 20 points, but Jones scored 30 points to lead the Bulls to the victory

    Conference Call
    • The game at USF is one of three during December at BIG EAST programs for UCF
    • The Knights' next game is Sunday at No. 14 Connecticut
    • On Dec. 6, UCF battled host Notre Dame - the score was tied at 41 at halftime - before falling 90-72
    • UCF has now faced at least one BIG EAST program in three-straight years

    Connections
    • UCF assistant Robert McCullum, who is in his first year with the Knights, served as USF's head coach from 2003-07
    • During his tenure in Tampa, the Bulls recorded four victories over nationally-ranked teams
    • UCF has two players from the Tampa area on its roster - Ben O'Donnell (Largo) and A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor)

    Up Next for the Knights
    • UCF will leave Florida for the second time this season when the Knights meet 14th-ranked Connecticut Sunday in Hartford

    Last Time Out
    A.J. Tyler totaled a game-high 18 points to lift UCF to a 63-50 win over Bethune-Cookman Saturday at the UCF Arena
    • UCF limited the Wildcats to just three points the final five minutes of the game

    Tough Slate
    • Despite having one of the nation's youngest teams, UCF is facing the toughest non-league schedule in program history
    • The slate includes contests at three BIG EAST programs, plus two games (vs. Auburn, at Ole Miss) against SEC squads
    • Eight of UCF's non-conference foes played in the postseason last spring

    Show and Improve
    • Despite facing a difficult schedule, the Knights are off to a 7-2 start in 2009-10
    • UCF was 5-4 last season after nine games

    Approaching History
    • In his 17th year with the Knights, Kirk Speraw has 271 victories at UCF and needs only four to become the winningest coach in program history
    • Torchy Clark, who coached the Knights from 1969-83, won 274 games in Orlando
    • The 2006-07 Conference USA Coach of the Year, Speraw has led the Knights to the NCAA Tournament on four occasions
    • He is one of only 14 coaches in the country who have spent at least 16-straight years at their current school

    Big Three
    • One of the best shooters on the team, A.J. Tyler surprisingly shot just 39.6 percent overall as he averaged 9.3 points in UCF's first six games of the year
    • Thankfully for the Knights, Tyler has gotten back on track and has averaged 15.7 points on 56.8 percent shooting from the floor in UCF's last three games
    • The junior has scored in double-figures in each of UCF's last three contests and is averaging 11.4 points on the year

    Getting to the Point
    • Despite his diminutive stature, Chicago native A.J. Rompza is UCF's leader on and off the floor
    • Rompza was a Conference USA All-Freshman Team pick a year ago after averaging 5.2 assists
    • His main job was to get the ball to league player of the year Jermaine Taylor, who averaged 26.2 points
    • As a result, Rompza averaged just 4.3 points per game
    • Without Taylor, the point guard is looking to score more this season and is averaging 8.7

     

     

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