GAME THREAD: FAU @ Arkansas State - 01/09/12 @ 8:05PM
GAME THREAD: FAU @ Arkansas State - 01/09/12 @ 8:05PM
What: Florida Atlantic (5-11, 1-2) vs Arkansas Sate (8-9, 2-1)
When: Monday, Jan. 9th @ 8:05 PM EST
Where: ASU Convocation Center
Live Video: None
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
Red Wolves Team Site: Here
G Ray Taylor 9.0 ppg
G Greg Gantt 13.5 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 8.3 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 2.5 ppg
F Kore White 9.5 ppg
G Marcus Hooten 12.4 ppg
G Edward Townsel 9.6 ppg
G Trey Finn 10.1 ppg
F Brandon Peterson 10.1 ppg
F Malcoln Kirkland 11.8 ppg
The Owls lead 3-2 in the all time series, but the home squad has come away victorious in each outing. Florida Atlantic will be looking for their first win in Jonesboro.
01/31/07 A L 77-84
2/08/08 H W 87-81
01/24/09 A L 60-62
01/23/10 H W 78-63
1/8/11 H W 61-57
Last time on the hardwood, the Owls pulled out a 61-57 triumph at FAU Arena. Greg Gantt connected on a three point basket with just over a minute left to give Florida Atlantic a 59-54 lead, and later thwarted a would be attempt at a tie by stealing away the ball and tipping it to Ray Taylor, who darted down the floor to the opposite end for an easy two points and the game's final basket.
Kore White led FAU with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
Owls at a Glance
After some miscues and lack of focus in previous contests, Florida Atlantic's defense has been stellar the last two games while allowing an average of just 35 points. Conversely, the offense has gone in the opposite direction, averaging only 49 points, and well below the season trend of 65.3 ppg.
On Saturday, FAU looked to be on the way to their first league road victory ahead 38-32 over Arkansas-Little Rock with just over two minutes to play. However, the rock became a block of ice with the Owls missing their last four shots, and the Red Wolves closing on an 8-0 run to win 40-38. The loss matches the Owls' worst start since 1998 (5-11).
Long range shooting continues to be a bipolar affair for Ray Taylor. In his freshman year, Taylor connected at a healthy rate of 38.9%. Last year saw a slight dive, but was still respectable at 33.3%. This year, his junior campaign, one would expect to see return to the prior if nothing else. But the speedster is quickly heading the wrong way to the tune of a 31.3% mark, including a 0-of-3 performance from beyond the arc on Saturday.
"That's why we haven't won many games this year to be honest with you", Jarvis told ESPN760's Ken LaVicka after the game. "He's got to start playing basketball the way a point guard is supposed to play."
Dropping eight of your last 10 games would likely send moral into the tank within another team that did not enjoy the chemistry and comradery that this unit enjoys. Their bond is evident with the continual slaps on the rear, high fives, and vocal encouragement; while rarely speaking a negative word to one another publicly.
And they'll be back quick enough to get another chance at redemption, with their third contest in five days against the Red Wolves.
"Hopefully we'll make half the mistakes we made tonight and get a win on Monday and go home with a split", Jarvis said. "It wouldn't be bad, I wanted to go home with two, but now we got to go home with a split."
To do that, FAU will likely need to entice fouls in the front court, a counter strength of ASU's. It would serve as a double edged sword as well since the Owls have gotten to the charity stripe an average of seven times over the last two contests - well below their season mark of 14.6 attempts an outing - and have registered fewer free throws made than the last their seven opponents.
Florida Atlantic is 2-10 away from FAU Arena thus far for the 2011-12 slate.
Red Wolves at a Glance
The Owls mark the third of four straight home opponents for ASU, where the Red Wolves are 6-3 overall, and 1-1 in Sun Belt play, on the season. ASU surrendered the first of the quartet in disappointing fashion 53-40 to Denver, but saw a buzzer beater three point shot by junior guard Marcus Hooten produce the game winner in a 73-70 win against North Texas on Saturday.
"I was proud of us for what we did" head coach John Brady said. "I think we were fortunate to win it, but we did win it and we aren’t going to give it back and we are looking forward to Monday night.”
Hooten is the team leader with 12.4 ppg (11th SBC), and also has the most attempts on the year. Fellow guard Trey Finn (Preseason 3rd Team All SBC) carries the hot hand for ASU from downtown, sporting a mark of 44.8% (3rd SBC). They are solid duo defensively, producing 4.2 swipes a game collectively.
The front court tandem of Brandon Peterson (7.1 rpg, 4th SBC), and Malcoln Kirkland (54.3% FG, 4th SBC) round out a balanced attack for the Red Wolves. Kirkland's 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game during the week of December 13-19, 2011 had him awarded Sun Belt Player of the Week.
With solid scoring across the starting five, all but one member in Edward Townsel (9.6 ppg) is in double figures for Arkansas State. But they aren't getting a significant contribution off the bench, where they average just 9.5 ppg.
ASU was tabbed to win the West Division in mid October, edging Louisiana-Lafayette. However, that ranking included the consideration of former preseason Player of the Year Martavius Adams, who was dismissed from the team later that month.
Adams posted 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in his two prior appearances against the Owls.
Owl's Nest Prediction
The squads split the four factors to winning, but Arkansas State owns a commanding 43.3% to 24.4% edge in FT Rate percentage.
Unless the Owls can turn the tide in their favor by getting the Red Wolves front court in foul trouble, thus forcing bench play to become factor, see another close loss coming for FAU.
Shooting has simply been too unreliable as of late.