GAME THREAD: Arkansas State vs FAU - 12/01/12 @ 8:00 PM
GAME THREAD: Arkansas State vs FAU - 12/01/12 @ 8:00 PM
What: Arkansas State (4-2, 0-1) vs FAU (2-4, 0-1)
When: Saturday, Dec. 1st @ 8:00 PM
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: None
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
Red Wolves Team Site: Here
G- Cameron Golden (7.5 ppg)
G- Marcus Hooten (8.0 ppg)
G- Trey Finn (10.0 ppg)
F- Brandon Peterson (11.2 ppg)
F- Kendrick Washington (9.3 ppg)
G- Jackson Trapp (8.0 ppg)
G- Greg Gantt (17.5 ppg)
G- Pablo Bertone (5.8 ppg)
F- Jordan McCoy (5.8 ppg)
F- Kelvin Penn (0.7 ppg)
FAU leads the all-time series 4-2, having won the last meeting 58-50 on the road in Jonesboro. PG Alex Tucker had an efficient outing scoring 16 points while dishing out 7 assists. The Owls shot 49% from the field and where sparked by an 18-1 run right before halftime. Arkansas State was paced by Ed Townsel who scored a team-high 17 points and was 3-of-6 from three-point range.
Traditionally the home team has fared well in this series with the host coming out on top in all but one game. The Owls have won the last three contests by an average of nine points.
Arkansas State at a Glance:
The Red Wolves come limping into Boca Raton after getting pounded 80-61 by Florida Internationalon Thursday night. The team held an early lead, but watched it slip away as they shot just 23-of-63 (37%) from the floor.
Ed Townsel led the squad with 13 points off of the bench, but 11 consecutive points late in the first-half by FIU put the game out of reach and dropped the team to 4-2 (0-1) on the year.
“I’m totally disappointed and we need to get better tomorrow before our game this Saturday against Florida Atlantic,” head coach John Brady said.
Arkansas State was off to the school’s best start since the 2008-09 season with a 4-1 record, but the loss brought the strong push out of the gates to an abrupt halt.
The program was selected to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference’s West Division during the preseason and had edged out four consecutive wins – including a 77-73 three overtime thriller against Tennessee-Martin.
However in the team’s two losses – at FIU and Dayton – they have lost by a combined 32 points.
Townsel is the conference’s third leading scorer at 17 points per game, and has been shooting a hot 43% from behind the arc, despite coming off the bench in a reserve role.
Outside of him, the one individual to keep an eye on is Brandon Peterson. The senior forward is the conference’s leading rebounder and is averaging a double-double this season. At 6-foot-8, 217-pounds he has size, and a work ethic. He played 32 minutes against FIU and scored 13 points while grabbing nine rebounds.
Arkansas State is second in the conference in scoring this season averaging 73.5 points per game. The team also ranks first in the league grabbing an average of 10 steals a contest.
The Red Wolves haven’t won a true conference road game since December 31st of last year, and have lost seven in a row.
FAU at a Glance:
The Owls fell 77-66 to South Alabamaon Thursday night, despite Greg Gantt’s game-high 29-points which tied his career-high.
The effort was good enough t give Gantt his 25th career game with 20+ points, but the loss moved FAU to 2-4 (0-1) on the season, and marked the second consecutive year the program dropped their conference opener.
South Alabama strung together an 18-2 run in the first half which was aided by multiple three-pointers from one of the conference’s top shooters in Xavier Robinson.
“It was like all of the sudden guys forgot who their best shooters were. Roberson is one of the better shooters in the league and we allowed him to get two or three open looks during that run. That was the game,” head coach Mike Jarvis said.
Defense was an issue all night for the Owls, as they allowed the Jaguars to attack the rim and score in transition. The visitors finished with 32 points in the paint and 17 off of turnovers.
“You can’t lose your mental focus and not remember who the other team’s best shooters are, and that’s what happened,” Jarvis said.
Sophomore Kelvin Penn got the nod over center Dragan Sekelja to start the game, and the results were mixed. The forward had four fouls in 18 minutes, but his defensive presence was felt when he was on the court.
“He’s been playing better. We wouldn’t have won Saturday if Penn didn’t play. Dragan has not been playing well, and if you don’t play well you don’t get as many minutes,” Jarvis said.
Sekelja played just 19 minutes and had four points in the limited action.
The transfer from Baylor has yet to adjust to the quick pace of the college game and failed run the floor effectively.
“He’s going to have the struggles any seven-footer is going to have. Of course if Dragan were where we want him to be he wouldn’t be here, he would still be at Baylor. There is a reason Dragan is here, and hopefully before he leaves here he will have found the answers to some of the questions,” Jarvis said.
With Sekelja seeing time on the bench, and Penn playing a more prominent roll, the team’s offense continues to look for scores.
Gantt has led the Owls in scoring in four of the six games this season and has had three straight games in double-digits.
Point guard Jackson Trapp took 12 shots on Thursday but made only three of them. His five assists where his second highest total of the season, but he didn’t have much offensive support.
“At times it was like he was out there by himself. That’s why he had to take more shots,” Jarvis said.
In the past five games the Owls have turned the ball over more times than their opponents.
Owl's Nest Prediction:
If you like playing the odds, then FAU should have a good chance of winning this game.
However for that to happen a lot will have to fall in place. Trapp and the offense will have to find some consistency and work effectively, while the defense needs to regroup after a poor showing against South Alabama.
Florida Atlantic is shooting the ball well, but that doesn’t matter when the opponent is scoring at will.
With Penn seeing more minutes in place of Sekelja expect more of a defensive presence in the paint and better half-court defense, as ASU will not look to run like the Jags did.
If the Owls are able to play smart defense and not turn the ball over, than they should be able to hang with the Red Wolves and make this competitive bout down the stretch.