Knights to Host Jackson Hewitt UCF Holiday Classic

Dec. 20, 2013

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By Doug Richards

Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Game Details vs. Rio Grande:
Saturday - Orlando, Fla. - 4 p.m.
Arena: CFE Arena (10,000)
Series: UCF, 1-0
TV: UCF All-Access
Radio: 740 The Game - Orlando
In-Game Updates:

Game Details vs. Valpo:
Sunday - Orlando, Fla. - 2:30 p.m.
Arena: CFE Arena (10,000)
Series: Valpo, 3-1
Radio: 740 The Game - Orlando
In-Game Updates:

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - Before opening American Athletic Conference competition, the UCF men's basketball team will play a pair of games this weekend at CFE Arena as part of the Jackson Hewitt UCF Holiday Classic. The Knights will host Rio Grande Saturday at 4 p.m. and then meet Valparaiso Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

UCF (6-3) has won three-straight games, including Tuesday's 104-64 thrashing of Jacksonville. Tristan Spurlock matched a career high with 23 points and added 11 boards for the double-double in the win. After the two games this weekend, UCF will have some time off for Christmas and will then make its league debut on New Year's Eve, hosting defending national champion Louisville.

Both of UCF's contests as part of the Jackson Hewitt UCF Holiday Classic will air on the UCF IMG Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 The Game in Orlando. Marc Daniels will call all of the action and will be joined by former UCF guard Taylor Young. Sunday's contest against Valpo will air on ESPN3.

Prior to Saturday's game, the UCF women's team will host Iona at 1 p.m. Admission is free to the women's contest with a ticket to the men's game.

During Saturday's game, one fan will have the opportunity to participate in an on-court contest at halftime and the chance to win free tax returns for life courtesy of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. Fans can enter to be selected for the contest in the arena front lobby.

• UCF will play a pair of games this weekend as part of the Jackson Hewitt UCF Holiday Classic, hosting Rio Grande Saturday and Valpo Sunday.

• On Tuesday, UCF never trailed in a 104-64 thrashing of visiting Jacksonville. The Knights shot 60.3 percent overall, 46.4 percent from deep and 75.0 percent from the free-throw line. Tristan Spurlock matched a career high with 22 points and added 11 boards in the win.

• The 100-point performance was the first for the Knights since Nov. 12, 2010, when they scored 115 points in a win over West Florida in Donnie Jones' first game as the program's head coach.

• Since dropping back-to-back games at Valpo and FAU, the Knights are 3-0. All three of the victories have come at home. During the losing skid, UCF shot 41.5 percent, made 29.3 percent of its treys and only 48.0 percent of its free-throw attempts while averaging 67.0 points. In the three-straight wins, the Knights shot 54.8 percent overall, 42.7 from deep and 61.1 percent at the line while averaging 86.7 points.

• The Knights are 34-4 under Donnie Jones against non-conference opponents at home, dating back to the start of the 2010-11 campaign.

• The UCF Holiday Classic is part of a seven-game homestand. The stretch will conclude with the Knights' first two American Athletic Conference contests: New Year's Eve against defending national champion Louisville and Jan. 4 vs. Temple.

SERIES INFO - Rio Grande, Valpo
• UCF and Rio Grande will meet for the second time as the squads faced off in 1975 and host UCF took a 101-88 victory
• UCF head coach Donnie Jones is 3-0 against Rio Grande
• He served as the head coach at Marshall from 2007-10 and his Thundering Herd posted a home victory over the Redmen each campaign during his tenure
• Valpo has a 3-1 series advantage, including its 85-70 win over the Knights on Nov. 26 in Indiana
• The teams will be meeting in Orlando for the second time as the host Knights took an 85-60 win over the Crusaders on Dec. 22, 2008, at CFE Arena
• The teams also played a single-season home-and-home series in 2008-09 and like this year, Valpo had a double-digit win in the matchup in Indiana, 69-52

December Success
• UCF has enjoyed great success at home under Donnie Jones during the month of December
• Jones is in his fourth campaign in Orlando and the Knights are 19-1 during December under the head coach, including a 3-0 mark this season
• The lone December loss at CFE Arena came last season to Miami

We Meet Again
• UCF and Valpo will be meeting for the second time this season as the host Crusaders rolled to an 85-70 win on Nov. 26 in Valparaiso, Ind.
• The Crusaders shot 54.2 percent overall for the contest and never trailed
• Valpo built a big lead early and then made 20-of-22 free throws in the second half to prevent the Knights from getting back into the game
• Five Crusaders finished with double figures in scoring, led by Alec Peters with 16 points • Calvin Newell led the Knights with 16 points

Home Sweet Home
• UCF is 5-1 at home this season and is averaging 84.7 points on 49.6 percent shooting at CFE Arena
• The Knights are 1-2 on the road, and shot a combined 42.4 percent while averaging 65.7 points

Sharing the Rock
• During the three-game winning streak, UCF is averaging 19.7 assists
• The Knights had 20 assists in the win over Jacksonville, after recording a season-high 21 against Howard
• The team is 6-0 this year when registering at least 14 assists

Senior Knight
Tristan Spurlock has been huge during the three-game winning streak, averaging 17.3 points while connecting on 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) of his 3-point attempts
• Spurlock matched a career high with 23 points and also had 11 rebounds in Tuesday's win over Jacksonville, despite only playing 22 minutes in the 40-point win
• He averaged 5.8 boards a year ago, but this year is proving that he can get to the glass
• Spurlock is averaging 7.6 rebounds this season, good for fourth in the American Athletic Conference

Moving Up the Chart
Isaiah Sykes has the opportunity to move up four UCF career stats list this weekend
• He is currently 16th in scoring with 1,169 points and Marcus Jordan (2009-12) and Paul Reed (1999-02) are 15th with 1,182 points
• Sykes has 597 career boards and needs 12 to pass Mario Lovett (1996-00) for seventh
• The senior has 148 steals, good for sixth, and Ruben Cotton (1979-81) is fifth with 149
• Sykes enters the weekend with 262 assists and Jordan is eighth in program history with 263