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FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

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FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth



FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

By Bob Markey II

Say this for the first time ever at Florida Atlantic University: Sun Belt Conference Champion; 20-game winner.

FAU’s men’s basketball program reached those milestones Thursday night with a 77-60 victory over Troy University at FAU Arena in the season’s final home game for the Owls.

FAU led from start to finish, by as many as 18 points on stellar play by Shavar Richardson, the high scorer with a career-high 19 points; and Brett Royster, who had a double-double (10 points and 11 rebounds) in his last home game.

“This might be the happiest I have ever been in my life,” said Royster, who was honored along with fellow senior Justin Davis, before the game. “We’ve come a long way.”

“This season has been special from beginning to end,” Royster said, “and for it to end like this on our home court is a special moment for all of us.”

Troy (8-19, 6-9 Sun Belt) – which had won three consecutive games before losing to Arkansas State last weekend – was cold from behind the arc and allowed FAU numerous turnovers and second chance buckets. The Owls led by 13 (26-13) at 6:37 in the first half before Troy cut the lead to 9 (36-27) at the half.

FAU (20-9, 12-3 Sun Belt) held Troy to a 39.7 shooting percentage; Troy’s 60 percent three-point percentage in the second half kept the Trojans in the game. The Owls shot 45.3 percent from the field.

Troy crept as close as 7 points down early in the second half before Greg Gantt and Ray Taylor hit back-to-back threes and Gantt added a layup to put the Owls up by 15. FAU pushed the lead to 18 at 12:56 on a Richardson three-pointer, and to 19 (the largest lead) at 9:24 on a Kore White trey.

“We came out with tremendous energy,” Taylor said. “I tried to pick up the energy and lead the team to victory.

“We still missed a couple of shots,” Taylor said. “Even though it was comfortable, it could have been better than that.”

Richardson, who started his first game of the season, had three three-pointers and was 6-for-10.

“We had a good week of practice. I was feeling good all week,” he said.

White had 13 points (two three-pointers) and Taylor, 11, for the Owls.

“We knew we had to win this game for the championship,” said White, a redshirt sophomore and Marshall transfer. “The thing that kept us in the game is that we were all together, especially on the defense.”

Vernon Taylor was high scorer for Troy with 16; Will Weathers had 12, and Bernard Toombs, 10 points.

FAU head coach Mike Jarvis said a comfortable win on Senior Night, during the last home game of the season, was well deserved after a season of nail-biters. The players and crowd of 1,834 deserved it, he said.

“We’re not used to games like this. I was sort of waiting for us to get … down,” Jarvis said. “If there was ever a night to have comfortable win, tonight was the night.”

Jarvis said he expects the Owls to win their regular season finale at South Alabama on Sunday and win the Sun Belt tournament in two weeks at Hot Springs, Ark. FAU is guaranteed at least a National Invitation Tournament win with the regular season title.

“I really believe that this is just the beginning,” said Jarvis a couple of minutes after his Owls jumped around with a crowd of students at midcourt, rang the Victory Bell, posed for photos and even did a little victory dance. “I told our guys, ‘Enjoy this. Don’t take anything for granted.’

“I told them that long ago, before we were a team, God knew we were going to be a team and put us together. He does incredible things with ordinary people. We’ve done some extraordinary things and I hope he has more in store for us.”

The Owls will wrap up the 2010-11 regular season on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. against South Alabama at the Mitchell Center.


Notes:

• Jarvis on Brett Royster: “Brett Royster has been through a lot of adversity as a player – battles with self-confidence and 6-win seasons,” Jarvis said. “He’s been great. Even when he is in foul trouble, he is still a factor because the other team is looking for him (on defense).”

• On Justin Davis, who started Thursday night: “Justin got out of this what he was supposed to get, an education and a job. He’s going to work for J.P. Morgan and it doesn’t get much better than that.
“Justin is an exceptional student and he is a student first.”

• This will be just FAU’s second postseason berth in history. The Owls have secured the top seed in the Sun Belt tournament.

• FAU will wrap up its regular season at 5 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday in Mobile at South Alabama. The FAU women – who defeated Troy at home on Wednesday night, play before the men.

• FAU unveiled its new, fiercer looking Owl mascot costume with great fanfare at halftime Thursday. The mascot – which will be named in a student referendum – was well received.

Box Score
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Re: FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

Nice piece, BMarkey!

Three things I really like about this team:

1) They embrace the "team" concept more than any other team we have had at FAU–In this "me" generation, it is refreshing to see the selflessness on the court–always looking for a great pass before thinking of themselves.

2) Never being satisfied with an outcome–always knowing that there is something they can do better.

3) They talk like winners, not self-absorbed athletes.  They seem to understand that they are where they are because of hard work and not because they are the greatest gift to the world of basketball.

Credit must be given to Coach Jarvis and staff for instilling these traits and going after players that are willing to listen to someone who knows how to create a team that we can all be proud of.

Go Owls!!
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Re: FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

I usually don't attend the press conferences. I am busy handling the photos. Last night I stood in for Rick (who underwent surgery Tuesday) and was very impressed with the demeanor and comments by Brett Royster, Ray Taylor, Shavar Richardson and Kore White.
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Re: FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

Does it bother anyone else that the Palm Beach Post has nothing about the Owls' conference title win on their FAU "blog" (FAU Owls football & basketball, news, reports, players, analysis – FAU Focus blog on PalmBeachPost.com)???
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Re: FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

The Post has been mostly missing in action this season. It will remain that way until people let the post know they want the coverage.

It bothers me that the Post will use a staff writer to cover Miami (which doesn't even have a winning record in its conference and has a weak-at-best following in Palm Beach County), but borrow a Sun-Sentinel article on FAU, or run nothing at all!
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Re: FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

The Post ran a 4-inch story on this game, by a freelancer, on page four of the sports section. A Post staffer wrote the Northwood basketball story on the same page.

The Post editors decided a St. Louis Cardinals spring training story on an elbow injury (the Cards must have at least 6 fans in this area); a Delray Tennis Championships "exemption" story about an Argentinian (does anyone attend this event?) and Honda Classic practice story (event is not until March 3) were worthy of the front page.

No wonder why the Post is suffering so much. Poor judgment.
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Re: FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

Is there someone we can email to let them know we demand more coverage of FAU?

Tom D'Angelo has been at like 4 games all year, I doubt he even cares about FAU.

I wonder if the post realizes UM isn't in PBC. There's only 1 division I college in Palm Beach County and its FAU.

I'd love to email an editor in chief or someone from the paper about their lack of FAU support

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

Jab979 said

Is there someone we can email to let them know we demand more coverage of FAU?

Tom D'Angelo has been at like 4 games all year, I doubt he even cares about FAU.

I wonder if the post realizes UM isn't in PBC. There's only 1 division I college in Palm Beach County and its FAU.

I'd love to email an editor in chief or someone from the paper about their lack of FAU support

I agree that the Post's coverage blows, but we do get awesome coverage from the Sun Sentinel and Ted Hutton.  I don't know the numbers, but I would guess that the readership of the Sentinel is far greater then the Post.  I find the majority of the sports coverage in the Post terrible anyway. 
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Re: FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

Dave Tepps is the editor. He has responded to me in the past.

E-mail: [email protected]
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Re: FAU Wins 20th For First Time, Clinches Sun Belt Crown, Post-season Berth

The Treasure Coast Newspapers (Stuart News / Port St. Lucie News, Fort Pierce Tribune, Vero Beach Press Journal and others) have been covering FAU basketball better than the Post. The Post sent a stringer to last night's game; The News sent its sports editor.

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/feb/25/fau-winslocks-up-sun-belt/
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