GAME THREAD: FAU vs. Rice - 01/11/14 @ 8:00 PM
What: FAU (4-11, 0-1 C-USA) vs Rice (5-9, 0-1 C-USA)
When: Saturday, January 11th @ 8:00 PM
Where: Tudor Fieldhouse
Rice Team Site: Here
Live Video: Owl All Access *FEE
Radio: ESPN 106.3
Internet Broadcast Info
Live Stats: Here
G Max Guercy 10.1 ppg
G Keith Washington 9.3 ppg
G Austin Ramljak 12.5 ppg
F Seth Gearhart 7.3 ppg
F Sean Obi 11.1 ppg
G Marquan Botley 7.6 ppg
G Jackson Trapp 10.0 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 18.5 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 4.9 ppg
C Justin Raffington 8.9 ppg
The teams will face off for the first time on Saturday.
Rice at a Glance:
The Owls are looking to better a dismal 5-26 mark from a year ago. With five wins currently, Saturday will present the opportunity to do that, and with a full slate of contests still remaining in C-USA they could in fact double that mark with relative ease. Anything beyond that though may be a challenge however.
Seven pure freshman are scattered across the roster, proving the Owls are a in deed a young team. They have a fairly well rounded style of play from a scoring perspective, but still tend to lean on guard play for the majority of point production. Gone from last season is leading scorer Tamir Jackson (17.7 ppg) and second best contributor Julian Debose (10.4 ppg), who is now playing at Florida Gulf Coast.
Leading the way today is G Austin Ramljak, who boasts a 42.1% three-point percentage and 3.43 treys per contest. Under the basket, newcomer Sean Obi (6-9, 240) has been a pleasant surprise for the Owls. The big man dropped 25 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in a 3OT thriller over South Alabama.
Like FAU, Rice was in their league opener at halftime on Thursday, only to see Florida International conclude with the better showing. Pulling away in the second half for a 71-60 win at Tudor Fieldhouse, FIU's Tymell Murphy scored 20 of his 22 points in the frame.
The game saw nine ties and 16 lead changes. Ramljak led Rice with 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including a trio of three-pointers. The Owls took good care the ball, with a season low six turnovers, and have now held each of their last five opponents below their respective season scoring average.
Rice is 3-4 at home on the season, and was picked to finish last in the Ken Pomeroy and Sports Network preseason polls. They have played eight games that have been decided by four points or less this season, including five of the last nine.
FAU at a Glance:
In what will continue to be a number of "firsts" for the remainder of the season, Florida Atlantic faces Rice for the first time on Saturday night at Tudor Field house. They limp into Houston coming off Thursday's 20 point rout at the hands of LA Tech. Most disappointing was that 17 of the separation points occurred in the closing frame.
The Owls got a 16 point performance from returning sophomore G Jackson Trapp, while junior C Justin Raffington registered his fourth double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Trapp has now pushed his scoring average back into double digits, and Raffington's nine offensive grabs was a career high.
Pablo Bertone was held scoreless in the second half, the first time all year he has not scored in a period. In fact, the senior's stock has steadily fallen after a 30 point outpouring against DePaul back on December 12th. Since then, his performances have been 21, 18, 17, 14 and now 8 - which is a low for the year.
Not without ample cause however. As matters would have it, Bertone was banged up (leg) against Warner. He missed four days of practice as a result and still wasn't 100% against the Bulldogs. Time heals all wounds though, and hopefully he should be that much closer to full recovery against Rice. Regardless, Bertone is still on pace to become a member of the program's 1,000 point club.
With the opening league loss loss, the Owls now find themselves in last place in C-USA standings due to overall record. FAU has not won on game played away from The Burrow since knocking off Western Kentucky 65-62 back on January 12, 2013. For those keeping count, that would be 16 contests in a row.
The "magic number" to end the streak against Rice on Saturday appears to be 65, as FAU is 0-8 on the year when not placing those digits or better on the scoreboard.
Owl's Nest Prediction
If this game were being played at home, Florida Atlantic would be marginal favorites. However, it's not and with that factored in out goes the confidence points.
But, we see a promising stat to note in offensive rebounding where FAU comes out on top in a big way (+6.13 pg). Given this, we'll buck the traditional computation method and reservedly call an end to the road drought.