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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM




What: Florida Atlantic (8-8, 3-2 SBC) vs Middle Tennessee (12-4, 4-1 SBC)

When: Thursday, Jan. 10th @ 8:00 PM EST

Where: Murphy Center

Blue Raiders Team Site: Here


TV: None

Live Video: Blue Raiders On Demand

Internet Broadcast: Here

Live Stats: Here


Probable Starters:

FAU

G- Stefan Moody 14.0 ppg
G- Greg Gantt 22.0 ppg
G- Pablo Bertone 8.6 ppg
F- Jordan McCoy 5.6 ppg
F- Kelvin Penn 1.3 ppg


MTSU

G- Kerry Hammonds 4.8 ppg
G- Marcos Knight 12.4 ppg
G- Tweety Knight 5. ppg
F- Shawn Jones 10.0 ppg
F- JT Sulton 5.0 ppg


The Series

The Blue Raiders swept the Owls last season in the team’s pair of meetings and now hold a 9-4 all-time advantage in the series.

The last time out on the court, LaRon Dendy dominated the game for Middle Tennessee State, scoring 20 points and posting 10 rebounds, as the Blue Raiders walked away from the Burrow with a commanding 72-59 victory.

FAU shot just 34% from the field and was led by Shavar Richardson’s 16 points.


Owls at a Glance

Florida Atlantic took down Louisiana-Lafayette 75-70 last week to improve to (8-8, 3-2) on the season. The win marked the second in a row for the Owls and the third in the last four games.

Greg Gantt posted 23 points in the victory, while Stefan Moody added 16 points of his own and a career-high nine rebounds.

FAU was in control for a majority of the contest, but allowed the Ragin’ Cajuns to cut the lead to just four points with over two minutes remaining. However, a high free throw percentage allowed for the Owls to secure the victory at the end.

“I’m happy that we won three out of four and I believe we should have won all four, but that’s what coaches think anyhow,” head coach Mike Jarvis said. “I think what I’m starting to see is the team come together. Of course it’s nowhere were we would like it to be, but it’s getting there and you know as a coach you want to see things starting to evolve.”

With the team playing some of it’s best basketball of the season, one of the key factors has been good production at the free throw line. The Owls connected on 18-of-21 attempts at the charity stripe against Louisiana-Lafayette, and currently lead the Sun Belt Conference with a 74.1 % free throw percentage.

“We’re leading the league in free throw shooting, so we are shooting at a very high rate. When you really look at it (the last game) for Kelvin Penn to go 2-of-4, that’s actually quite an accomplishment because there was a time when he couldn't hit the rim. Jordan McCoy has been shooting lights out at the free throw line… If we keep shooting like that we will give ourselves a chance,” Jarvis said.

While the squad has been shooting well as a unit, it’s Gantt who leads the conference in free throw percentage – hitting 85.2 % of his attempts this season. Outside of him, one individual who has played well recently is Jordan McCoy. The senior forward is 7-of-9 at the line over the past three games and had a season-high 14 points against ULM.

One player that could be back in the rotation on Thursday night and for the remainder of the two-game road swing is guard Richard Morrow. The walk-on redshirt sophomore – who was thrown into action mid-season due to suspensions – missed the last contest because of a lingering concussion issue.

Morrow would provide depth and a defensive presence for the team, as they head into arguably the most difficult stretch of games this season on the schedule.

“This to me might be the most exciting road trip of the year – to play in conference against Middle and Western, which are two really good basketball teams in really good basketball environments – we’re going to learn a lot about ourselves,” Jarvis said.

The Owls haven’t fared well on the road this season, but with the recent success at home it appears that they may be able to turn things around. FAU is 4-0 this season when turning the ball over 12 times or less, and has stuck to that formula the past two games which resulted in back-to-back wins.

“There are a lot of corners in this neighborhood that we are going through,” Jarvis said. “We got to keep turning corners, and we’re going to really find out how good we are this weekend.”


Middle Tennessee State at a Glance:

Selected as the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference, the Blue Raiders roll into Thursday night’s contest in stout form – having won five of their last six games and currently ranking atop the conference’s eastern division standings.

Head coach Kermit Davis returns four starts from last year’s regular season Sun Belt Conference championship squad, which has allowed for continued success on the hardwood this season.

The Blue Raiders sport a 12-4 (4-1) record with impressive wins already over Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Central Florida.

The last time out on the court the team looked to rebound against South Alabama after dropping a game on the road to Arkansas State a few days earlier. Guard Bruce Massey led the team with 12 points off of the bench and helped the Blue Raiders use a strong second half to secure a 60-56 victory over South Alabama.

“I was proud of our players. I was proud of Bruce Massey and the way he competed,” Davis said.

Massey – who had been benched earlier in the season for poor attitude – was crucial in the victory as he snagged two steals and hit four important free throws.

“Sometimes family have disagreements. I love Bruce Massey and love coaching him. He's a lot like me, he's pretty dang competitive and we understand all that. I think we learned a valuable lesson and it's good to have him back,” Davis said.

With a majority of the scoring returning from last year’s team, Massey represents the talent and depth on the roster. Seven different players average five points or more, with two individuals in double figures.

Massey has been featured in a role off of the bench for a majority of his senior campaign, but had a season-high 17 points in the win over Vanderbilt.

Senior guard Marcos Knight is the team’s leading scorer and was named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt First-Team before the start of the season. Averaging a ripe 12.7 points per game, Knight has had 11 games this season in which he has found his way into double digits in scoring – which includes a 23 point effort against Arkansas State.

Outside of the backcourt, the big men are forwards Shawn Jones and JT Sulton. Jones owns the third best shooting percentage in the conference at 54.7%, and has the ability to score in the post while effectively rebound.  The Blue Raiders are 6-0 on the season when Jones scores 11 points or more.

Middle Tennessee State is averaging 13.8 assists per game this season, which stands as the best mark in the Sun Belt.

The Blue Raiders have been dominant on their own court over the past two seasons, and are 22-2 at the Murphy Center over that period. They have won 20-straight regular-season games at home and haven’t lost a conference game in the Murphy Center since January of 2011.


Latest Line:

MTSU – 16


Owl’s Nest Prediction

This will be the start of biggest test of the season for the Owls and head coach Mike Jarvis. The team appears to finally have found some footing, but they will be facing the best team in the conference on Thursday night.

If FAU wants to win they will need to play their style of basketball and stellar defense. Greg Gantt and Stefan Moody will need to shoot lights out, while Kelvin Penn will have to limit Shawn Jones on the other end of the court.

Those tasks will be a lot for a roster that doesn't have much depth. Middle Tennessee State will play of bunch of players and look to run the floor from the get go.

Look for the Owls to hang around if they can shoot a high percentage, but the Blue Raiders are just too talented and the difference should become apparent early on.

MTSU – 11

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

Andrew said




Owls at a Glance

Florida Atlantic took down Louisiana-Lafayette 75-70 last week to improve to 8-8 (2-2) on the season.

MTSU – 11

We are 3-2 in conference
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

G Richard Morrow will not be joining the team on the two game road swing because of his concussion.

That hurts.

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

Andrew said

G Richard Morrow will not be joining the team on the two game road swing because of his concussion.

That hurts.

Pun intended?

;)
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

16 point dogs in a conference game? f#cking pathetic. great job Jarvis. you blow.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

Let's go owls!
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

This win would be huge, GO OWLS!!!!
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

Owl_Ranger2 said

This win would be huge, GO OWLS!!!!

Heck yeah it WILL be huge!
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

OwlBroker said

Owl_Ranger2 said

This win would be huge, GO OWLS!!!!

Heck yeah it WILL be huge!

There's a WILL there's a way. I like the attitude.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Middle Tennessee - 01/10/13 @ 8:00 PM

Owl_Ranger2 said

OwlBroker said

Owl_Ranger2 said

This win would be huge, GO OWLS!!!!

Heck yeah it WILL be huge!

There's a WILL there's a way. I like the attitude.

Just call us the alumni rangers lol
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