GAME THREAD: FAU @ Troy - 01/19/12 @ 8:30PM
GAME THREAD: FAU @ Troy - 01/19/12 @ 8:30PM
What: Florida Atlantic (6-12, 2-3) vs Troy (6-10, 1-4)
When: Thursday, Jan. 19th @ 8:30 PM EST
Where: Sartain Hall
Live Video: Trojans All-Access
Internet Broadcast: Here
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Trojans Team Site: Here
G Ray Taylor 9.0 ppg
G Shavar Richardson 8.3 ppg
G Greg Gantt 13.5 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 2.5 ppg
F Kore White 9.5 ppg
G Will Weathers 11.4 ppg
G Steven Cunningham 6.1 ppg
G Justin Wright 10.3 ppg
G Emil Jones 8.4 ppg
F Tim Owens 5.3 ppg
The teams have met 27 times, with Troy on top 19-8 overall and 10-3 at Sartain Hall - formerly Trojan Arena.
Last time on the hardwood, FAU completed a 2010-11 sweep over Troy with a 77-60 win in Boca Raton. Shavar Richardson had 19 points to lead all scorers (4-of-7 3PT) and Brett Royster added 10, while tying with the Trojans' Bernard Toombs for a game high 11 rebounds.
Florida Atlantic dished out 19 assists (Taylor 7, Tucker 5) and connected for a productive 76.9% showing at the charity stripe; including a 7-of-8 performance in the second frame.
Owls at a Glance
In another tough loss for Florida Atlantic last Saturday, Middle Tennessee spoiled the night 67-54 at FAU Arena. The Blue Raiders shot a healthy 52.9% from the floor, but a 64.0% effort in the second half had FAU's newly found defense perplexed. Ball handling took a step back as well.
"It starts with the point guard, so I feel responsible for most of the turnovers, even though I had six", said senior point man Alex Tucker, who was fresh off the heels of a coming out performance (16 points, seven assists) just a game prior against Arkansas State.
Jarvis has tinkered and toyed with the line-up all season long, but the fact of the matter is that the Owls simply do not have a consistent scoring threat in the front court.
"I’ve been waiting for Kore White to show up, but I’ve been waiting now for a couple of years", said coach Mike Jarvis. "Offensively, we’ve got to get better.”
If there is any saving grace for the squad at this point in time, it is that the rest of the Sun Belt's Eastern Division is a mess. With only a 2-3 mark on the year, alas they are are in second place and still have plenty of ball left to bounce. MTSU is the lone team with a respectable mark (6-0) and a successful finish against remaining competition could keep FAU away from them come tournament time.
That is a long time away obviously, and with a newly inserted offensive package, efforts are focused on just getting the next victory and establishing a winning identity.
The Owls haven't been going the long distance route lately other than traveling. Against the Blue Raiders, they took only nine, and prior to that 13 against Arkansas State - both well below their 20.5 average attempts per game. But expect that to change tomorrow night with the opposition tapping a zone predominantly, and it could benefit FAU.
"What we don't have is a lot of guys that can create off the dribble", Jarvis said.
The dribble-drive game isn't needed in a long range approach, although it will get a little help, as Ray Taylor will find his way back into the line-up after being out of game action for 12 days due to concussion like symptoms.
Taylor last saw the court in the Owls' 48-30 loss at Arkansas-Little Rock, however was 0-of-7 with six turnovers.
Trojans at a Glance
It's time for the "hurry up and shoot the three" style of play head coach Don Maestri is known for. I guess when you have only one somewhat capable "big man" it does make sense, and one simply can look at Florida Atlantic for a valid comparison. But it hasn't lead to many wins for Troy, as they currently sit next to last at 1-4 in the Eastern Division of the Sun Belt just ahead of a downward spiraling Western Kentucky (1-5) who provided their only win thanks to a basket by Tim Owens with four seconds remaining.
Last Saturday against South Alabama it was the "hurry up and miss the three" campaign that cost the Trojans a 75-60 drubbing by South Alabama at home. For two straight periods Troy hoisted away a total of 37 attempts, seeing net on just six of them. For those keeping track, that's 16.2%, and not going to win many games as a bread and butter strategy.
A short roster is had by the squad with only 11 players seeing time thus far for 2011-12. And, ironically, bench scoring in Justin Wright (10.3 ppg, 2nd), Allen Jones (10.2 ppg, 3rd), and Steven Cunningham (6.1 ppg) has accounted for 37.3% of total offensive output thus far. Maestri will likely shake it up a bit though for Thursday, as both Wright and Cunningham are expected to return to the starting lineup.
The front court is almost bare with Tim Owens (6-9, 210) being the only active player on the roster over 6-6. Forwards Westley Hinton (JUCO, 6-8, 190), Sidki Muwallif (FR, 6-8, 190), and Breon Dixon (FR, 6-7, 195) are all redshirting for the season.
Troy is 4-3 on the year in contests at Sartain Hall, with all three losses coming the the last three games played there.
The Trojan's 9.5 triples per outing is good enough for a sixth place ranking nationally, and 1st in the Sun Belt. Off the glass, they are 2nd in the conference offensive rebounds (15.6 pg), but 10th in defensive grabs (21.4 pg).
Owl's Nest Prediction
Florida Atlantic won't have much to worry about in the front court on Thursday night, but they will have to play up tempo - something which should be a much welcomed change of pace.
Defending the perimeter is the main takeaway for a win, and with that being the primary focal point, matters could find their way back into the column on the left when it is all said and done.
Troy is not known for their defense, which should be music to the ears of the Owls' struggling offense. But FAU's offensive production remains the wild card factor until it becomes consistent.
After an admittedly emotionally driven pick the last outing against MTSU, going back to the crunch in this one. And that approach unfortunately favors the Trojans.