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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM




What: Florida Atlantic (8-9, 3-3) vs Western Kentucky (10-7, 4-2)

When: Saturday, Jan. 12th @ 8:00 PM EST

Where: E.A. Diddle Arena

Hilltoppers Team Site: Here


TV: ESPN Full Court

Live Video: ESPN3

Internet Broadcast: Here

Live Stats: Here


Probable Starters:

FAU

G Stefan Moody 14.3 ppg
G Greg Gantt 22.5 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 8.3 ppg
F Jordan McCoy 5.3 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 1.3 ppg


WKU

G Brandon Harris 8.0 ppg
G Kevin Kaspar 6.2 ppg
G George Fant 11.6 ppg
F T.J. Price 14.4 ppg
F Teeng Akol 7.0 ppg


The Series

Western Kentucky holds a 10-3 advantage all time and won the last outing 64-57 at FAU Arena.

Ray Taylor took a team high 12 shots, but managed only six points off of them, while going 0-of-6 from three point land. Overall, the Owls shot a paltry 3-of-19 from downtown. George Fantt led all scorers with 20 points for WKU, and Jordan McCoy dropped in 14 for the Owls.

The last six contests between the two programs have been decided within single digits.


Owls at a Glance

MTSU used a 26 point run to establish distance, and put Florida Atlantic away 62-52 on Thursday night. It was the first of two road contests that will likely be the toughest the Owls will have in league play; although the ASU/UALR swing looms just two weeks away with those squads tied for first in the western division.

As usual, Greg Gantt and Stefan moody did the major lifting on Thursday (51 combined points), as missing from last year's contest in Murfreesboro was Jordan McCoy's 10 point and seven rebound performance. Last night the senior netted only three grabs in 21 minutes. However, Coach Jarvis would settle for any member of his front court making a consistent contribution at this point in time.

"It would be nice to get offense of out somebody in the front court, and I don't care who", said Jarvis. "Right now we don't have any big guys that I could look to night in and night out."

Ironically, he may find something in Kelvin Penn over time. Known right now solely for his defense, Penn (2.6 bpg, 1st SBC) swatted three Blue Raider shots away last night, bringing his season total to 44; which is +2 over all of last year with 14 games still remaining.

But the staff is going to ask him to make some adjustments in his game at the opposite end of the court in order to help him become a more well rounded contributor.

"He's a natural lefty. It's mind boggling in a way with his ability to block shots at the height of the shot. You would think that he would be more gifted offensively", explained Jarvis. "So maybe we have been having him shoot with the wrong hand. We're going to really start to work with him on a lot more left handed hooks and shots."

Obviously the immediate thrust of the scoring duties will remain in the back court, coupled with the major focal point of turnover reduction and avoidance.

Top performer Greg Gantt (22.5 ppg, 1st SBC) has had a rocky road against the Hilltoppers, with point totals in steady decline since first taking the court against them back in January 2010:

2/16/2012 4
1/26/2012 7
1/29/2011 12
1/15/2011 18
2/25/2010 19
1/14/2010 23

However, there are some facets to the 2012-13 version of Gantt that should have him maintaining his nationally ranked scoring average.

"He was a different player then in all aspects", commented Jarvis on Gantt's history in the series. "He's in much better shape than he's ever been in, so he can play longer, move with the ball better, and scores more inside."

The Owls remain the conference's best blocking team with 5.1 dismissals per game, but line the cellar in assists and turnover margin (11th).


Hilltoppers at a Glance

The Hilltoppers, who have played the fifth-most games in the country at this point in the season, are coming off a bye week and will host their next three opponents, beginning with Florida Atlantic on Saturday night.

WKU jumped out to a 4-0 start in Sun Belt Conference play, its best since 2005-06, but dropped a pair of road games last week at UALR and Arkansas State.

In both games, the Hilltoppers erased a double-digit first-half deficit to take a lead, only to see the hosts regroup for the win each time. The Hilltoppers shot 42.6 percent as a team over the two games, and dropped in 20 three-pointers.

Brandon Harris is averaging 12.8 points and a team best 8.2 rebounds per game in the last five outings for WKU, who has employed 10 different starting five combinations for 2012-13.

From a mainstay perspective, it's the guard duo of Jamal Crook (14.5 ppg) and TJ Price (14.4 ppg) who make the wheels on the bus go round. Both appear on the league's top 10 scoring list (8th, 10th) and were tabbed as 2012-13 All SBC preseason selections (2nd & 3rd teams).

The loss at UALR ended an eight-game Hilltopper winning streak against the Trojans, and WKU lost for just the second time in the last nine games against the Red Wolves on Saturday night.

Western Kentucky has out-boarded 11 of the last 13 foes, and have connected for at least nine three-pointers in four-straight games - despite a 10th place showing amongst league members (30.1%).

They are 17-5 under Head Coach Ray Harper when holding an opponent to less than 70 points, and will be defending a 13 game home win streak.


Latest Line:

WKU -8


Owl's Nest Prediction

Free throw efficiency could once again prove pivotal on Saturday, which is one area where the Owls are excelling. However, the Toppers enjoy an edge on the offensive glass (+2 pg), and that will need to be neutralized for FAU to be successful.

WKU is a better shooting team from inside the line, but may find getting some of them off a little more difficult given FAU's 41.5% FG defense (3rd SBC).

If the Owls can take care of the ball, they just could be in this one late.

Just not seeing it in our routine crunch.

WKU - 7
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

I hate this guy or girl whatever sex the blob is. He or she sucks. >:(
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

Owl_Ranger2 said

I hate this guy or girl whatever sex the blob is. He or she sucks. >:(

Ditto! Looks like Freakimg grimace from McDonald's
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

Owl_Ranger2 said

I hate this guy or girl whatever sex the blob is. He or she sucks. >:(

I have no idea what the heck it is but I always thought it was pretty funny.

Why are you hatin' on the red blob?

GO OWLS!
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

Starters:

FAU

G Greg Gantt
G Stefan Moody
G Pablo Bertone
F Jordan McCoy
F Kelvin Penn


WKU

G Brandon Harris
G T.J. Price
G Kevin Kaspar
F George Fant
C Teeng Akol
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

Moody pops a four point play to start!

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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

Toppers answer……….

17:55

FAU 4† WKU 4
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

Gantt hits a pair at the line, and the Owls are back in front.

What doesn't Greg Gantt do??

;D
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

Hilltoppers showing some sloppy play, Owls cash in!

1st Media stop:

14:42

FAU 10† WKU 4

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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 01/12/13 @ 8:00 PM

Penn with a nice tip in!

(would love to see a lot more of that)
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