UCF Takes On Niagara

ORLANDO – The UCF (5-2, 2-0 A-Sun) men's basketball team will be in search of its third straight road win as they take their first-ever trip to Niagara (6-1, 2-0 MAAC) on Monday, Dec. 22 to take on the Purple Eagles. Tip off at the Gallagher Center is set for 7:00 p.m. UCF, which is in search of its fourth consecutive win, leads the overall series 1-0 following its 94-69 win at UCF Arena at the beginning of last season.

Senior Dexter Lyons has led the Golden Knights offensively during the modest win streak averaging 20.3 points a game. Most recently, Lyons posted a new career high netting 22 points in a 71-60 win over Gardner-Webb (12/17). He has led the way with some hot shooting, hitting at a 62 percent clip from the floor during the three-game stint including five three pointers. He enters the game averaging 14.3 a contest.

Roberto Morentin, who has scored in double figures four times this season, is second on the team with an 11.6 point per game average and leads the Knights pulling down 8.1 boards a contest. Josh Bodden rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.1 a game. He trails only Morentin grabbing 6.9 rebounds a game. Gary Johnson, who is coming off an 18-point performance against Gardner-Webb, is the leader on the floor averaging 4.0 assists a game.

The Golden Knights enter the game shooting 45 percent from the floor and 33 percent from long range.

The UCF defense, which is allowing just 60.4 points a game, will be severely tested against Niagara as the Purple Eagles enter the game averaging 91.3 points a contest with four starters averaging in double figures. Leading Niagara offensively are Juan Mendez and Tremmell Darden, who combined are averaging over 40 points a game as the duo pours in 21.3 and 19.6 points a game respectively.

David Brooks averages 17 points a contest, while James Reaves rounds out the group netting 13.6 points a game.

The Purple Eagles have connected on 46 percent of their shots from the field and have drained 55 triples on the season. Niagara has eclipsed the century mark twice this season, both coming in overtime wins, 109-106 at Canisius and a 107-98 win at home against Saint Bonaventure. The Purple Eagles have posted a 3-1 record at the Gallagher Center so far this season.

-- Playing its third consecutive game on the road and its fifth in the first seven games.
-- Making its first ever trip to Niagara.
-- Looking for its first four-game winning streak since January 2003 (Jan. 18-25).
-- Ranked sixth in the country in steals with 12.2 a contest (week of 12/15).
-- Shooting 48 percent from the floor in its last three games and has won by an average of 15.3 points a game.
-- 4-2 all-time against teams from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, posting wins over Niagara (‘02), Marist (‘00), St Peter's (‘87) and Rider (‘86). Losses have come to Marist (‘01) and Canisius (‘96).
-- 5-2 after the first seven games of the season for the third consecutive year.

Lyons Roar: During the course of UCF's three-game win streak, senior Dexter Lyons has:
-- Led the Knights in scoring with a 20.3 points per game average.
-- Set a new career high with 22 points in a win over Gardner-Webb.
-- Knocked down 62 percent of his shots from the floor, averaging eight buckets a contest.
-- Hit 5-of-10 shots from behind the arc.

T-Minus Five Minutes: So far this season the Golden Knights have not lost or overcome a lead in the final five minutes of a game. In the Knights three victories this season they have led by an average of 19.2 points a game in the final five minutes. The team's largest lead with less than five minutes remaining came against Navy as they led the Mids by 29 points with five minutes to play.

Conversely in its two losses this season, UCF has trailed by an average of 12.5 points with less than five minutes remaining. The smallest deficit the Knights faced was four points in a 72-63 loss to the College of Charleston, while the largest deficit came against then No. 2 Florida which led by 21 points in the closing minutes.

First Stanza: In all five of the Golden Knights victories this season, UCF has led at the end of the first half. The Knights have outscored the opposition by an average of 38 to 27.4 at the intermission. The team's largest lead was posted against Navy (12/6) when they led 40-21 after the first 20 minutes. UCF has lost one game when leading at the half. After staking a 40-37 lead against the College of Charleston, the Knights eventually dropped a 72-63 decision.

Next Up For The Knights: UCF will return to Orlando and host just its third game of the season and kick off its longest homestand of the year beginning with Tenn.-Martin on Dec. 30. The Knights will follow that up by hosting a pair of conference games, first against Georgia State (1/3) and then against Mercer (1/5). Tip off for all games is 7:30 p.m. and can be heard on AM-740 The Team with Marc Daniels calling all the action. Pregame coverage begins at 7:00 p.m.

On The Air: UCF's game against Niagara will tip off at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on AM 740-The Team, with Marc Daniels calling all the action. Pregame coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Yahoo also provides Golden Knights fans the opportunity to listen online by clicking here.

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