Knights Biggest Weapon

If you ask nearly anyone who has seen the UCF basketball team play what their biggest weapon is, the likely answer would be senior guard Jermaine Taylor. Although Taylor is certainly the team's best player, as he averages better than 20 points per game, the program's biggest weapon may be the house that Taylor plays in, the UCF Arena.

Since the Knights moved into the UCF Arena prior to last season, the team has posted a stellar 14-4 record with their only defeats coming at the hands of UAB, Houston, Connecticut, and Mississippi, all pretty good programs.

"I think last year in the first year of the Arena with our student body support and our hard and fast season ticket holders and boosters that have been here through it all, they've been tremendous, and they're consistent and they've been here all the time," Knights head coach Kirk Speraw explained. "We're growing the student base, they were unbelievable tonight and if we can get the community aware of what's going on out here…our guys take pride in this building and playing hard. We didn't win all the games last year but dog-gone-it we played pretty hard and pretty well against some awfully good people in this building a year ago, so we want this."

This season, UCF has a 4-0 home record, and the only close game they played was against USF which resulted in a 71-63 victory, the first time they've defeated USF since 1994.

"The crowd was amazing, it was hard to hear thanks to them," Knights guard Jermaine Taylor said following the victory against USF. "I expected it to be a big crowd because it was USF and everything, but this was way more than I expected. I didn't expect there to be as many students as there was, they were there like an hour early before the game started and I think we fed off their energy."

The UCF Arena is amongst the nicest venues in all of college basketball, as it is kept exquisitely clean, and the modern nature of the arena rivals that of many professional venues. What really makes it a special home court advantage for the Knights is their seemingly never-ending fan support.

"What really helped us out is the home crowd, we don't lose here, and we won't lose here," Knights forward Tony Davis said. "If we keep that mindset up we'll have plenty more of these games."

The UCF crowd chants all game long, supporting their team no matter what the score is. There is mostly clever heckling, some not so clever heckling, but no matter what the student body is loud and certainly an intimidating presence for opposing teams.

"I think we have the toughest student crowd in the conference in terms of support and atmosphere and that type of thing and it's only going to get better," Speraw said.

Success breeds success, and the UCF student body is helping to create a winning culture for the Knights basketball program. With affordable ticket prices, a top-class venue, and an excellent on-court product, fans are beginning to flock to the UCF Arena to see their Knights and that should build and continue into the future.


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