GAME THREAD: Ave Maria vs FAU - 11/08/13 @ 7:00 PM
What: Ave Maria (1-0) vs FAU (0-0)
When: Friday, November 8th @ 7:00 PM
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: Here
Radio: ESPN 106.3
Live Stats: Here
Gyrenes Team Site: Here
G Ralph Erickson 9.0 ppg
G Matt Chattin 23.0 ppg
G John Russo 13.0 ppg
F Wendell Powell 8.0 ppg
C Nate Krimsky 6.0 ppg
G D'Andre Johnson 0.0 ppg
G Jackson Trapp 5.0 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 9.4 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 1.3 ppg
C Dragan Sekelja 3.4 ppg
Ava Maria at a Glance:
Besides wondering what Ave Maria is, one might be also wondering the same about a Gyrene. Ave Maria University is a small private college a bit west of Bonita Springs, Fl. The 1,200 student institution was founded by Domino's Pizza founder, and former Detroit Tigers owner, Tom Monaghan. The name Gyrene references a member of the United States Marine Core. No, they don't have much in common, aside from Monaghan's past service.
The Gyrenes hail from the Sun Conference, along side notable members Northwood, Embry-Riddle, and St. Thomas. With that as the back-drop, we now move on to hoops talk.
After posting a 23-9 overall mark and 9-7 showing in Sun Conference action during the 2012-13 slate, 5-10 senior shooting guard Matt Chattin returns as the lone starter for the squad this season. If they had to pick someone to still be around, he would likely be the second choice behind departee Kiel Lewis (15.4 ppg, 39.2% 3PT). Chattin is the best long range shooter on the squad with a 37.3% connect rate last season, and also sank a team best 87.1% from the free throw line.
Chattin posted a game-high 23 points while junior John Russo and sophomore Joseph Guernsey each chipped in 13 points to lead the Ave Maria men's basketball team to a 73-48 season opening win over Trinity College on Monday night.
"Chattin and Guernsey both had really good games," said head coach Ken Dagostino. Chattin was a leader for us both offensively and on the defensive end and Guernsey played a key role coming off the bench when a couple guys got in foul trouble."
The front court is not a super-sized, but does offer some reasonable production in starters Wendell Powell Nate Krimsky and reserve forward Guernsey.
Krimsky is a load at 6-6, 250 lbs, and 6-8, 195 Guernsey, who had a near double-double in Monday's opener, will be relied upon for a continued showing off the bench throughout the year.
From a playing style perspective, AMU made a living on stingy defense last season, and will look to continue that trend. Offensively, guard play remains the engine.
FAU at a Glance:
The Owls enter the year with offensive replacement as the largest unknown. Former standout Greg Gantt and second leading scorer Stefan Moody depart for new chapters in life, and with them go 63% of total team production.
In contrast to last season, the "plan" will be to employ a scoring by committee approach, but there is still some uncertainty as to who exactly that will be. Senior guard Pablo Bertone (9.4 ppg, 2012-13) is the leading candidate as the first option, but not necessarily the only one who will be looked upon for that role.
"What I would like to hope is that our number one option won't be the same guy every night", said Head Coach Mike Jarvis. "Whereas it was, and that's how you are a little more predictable (offensively). It's not like we are running everything the way we were a year ago to get Greg a shot."
Although he has shown a tendency to play in loose fashion at times with the ball in his hands, Bertone did lead the back court in shooting efficiency while making 42.9% of his attempts, and placed 2nd in the long ball category at a 35.5% clip. Fellow guard Jackson Trapp (33.8% 3PT) is likely the second option, and has a gritty nature that should help him in the transitional journey.
Rounding out the attack, Jarvis is hopeful that one of his bigs in either Sekelja, or newcomer Justin Raffington, will complete the newly formed and predominant 3-2 style of play.
"The name of the game is moving the ball, spacing the floor, and if you get an open shot and it's inside your range you better shoot it", remarked Jarvis.
The shifting of off-glass duties could be deemed as a concern with the departure of leader Jordan McCoy (6.4 rpg), as the next best performances were from Penn, Gantt and Moody, who each finished with 4.2 per contest. While Penn is the only returnee of the quartet, it is worth mentioning the insertion of Raffington, who should be able to pick up some slack there.
The Owls don a slim roster with only 12 players this year, and the top eight players will see the bulk of the minutes initially. In addition to the projected starting five, the likely consistent round outs are PG Marquan Botley, Raffington, and F/C Brian Hornstein.
Botley has been playing well in practice, and that lands him as the back-up at the point behind fellow freshman D'Andre Johnson. Raffington will receive minutes behind Sekelja or Penn, and Hornstein presents match-up problems at the four as a likely key reserve at times.
"With this team we've got to try and get as many easy baskets as we can. We are going to look to run as much as we can, but at the same time we better become a good half court team as well", said Jarvis.
"Most coaches would like to play a faster paced game, but you have to go with the one that gives you the best chance of winning", continued Jarvis. "Our game plans are going to vary from night to night."
This is obviously a very early dive into what is seemingly going to be a work in progress for FAU, with the main shift to note being the move from a predominantly perimeter based strategy to that of a more traditional set. The insertion of two true points will offer a head start in that regard.
Owl's Nest Prediction
Florida Atlantic will have to grow up quickly in 2013. The first two games on the schedule are there for a reason, and that is to aid this process. Expect a win, but be mindful of what is seen in the front court. Progress there is a critical indicator of how things will play out for the longer term. In contrast to recent years, the Owls have to establish a multi-faceted game given the distinct changes in ratio of front court to back court personnel. Not to mention the desired scoring transference.
Let's hope these boys can "blue collar" their way to some wins this year.