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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM




What: Florida Atlantic (7-12, 3-3) vs FIU (5-13, 2-4)

When: Saturday, Jan. 21st @ 2:00 PM EST

Where: U.S. Century Bank Arena

TV: Sun Belt Network CSS

Live Video: ESPN3.com

Internet Broadcast: Here

Live Stats:

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Here

Panthers Team Site: Here


Probable Starters:

FAU

G Alex Tucker 4.4 ppg
G Shavar Richardson 4.8 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.4 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 2.6 ppg
F Kore White 8.4 ppg


FIU

G Phil Taylor 15.0 ppg
G Jeremy Allen 13.7 ppg
G DeJuan Wright 16.1 ppg
F Dominique Ferguson 9.7 ppg
C Brandon Moore 4.1 ppg


The Series

Once heavily lopsided in their favor, Florida International now enjoys just a 14-13 margin in the all time series. Most recently, FAU put away a pesky Panther squad 80-78 in overtime in Miami.

FIU outshot the Owls from the floor overall, and gathered more rebounds, but Florida Atlantic went 1-of-2 in the extra period (3PT), and connected for five free throws, as the Panthers tossed up a 2-of-9 showing, with two made freebies.

Greg Gantt (21 game high), Jordan McCoy (19), and Ray Taylor (15) were all in double figures.


Owls at a Glance

The Owls exploded offensively on Thursday night in an 88-67 romp over Troy University. The showing was good enough for third most points on the year, and put a sluggish offense back on track. Prior to the contest, FAU had not posted more than 58 points in a Sun Belt contest (55, 58, 38, 58, 54). Additionally it marked the third 20+ point win on the year for Florida Atlantic.

Greg Gantt dropped 25 points - his most on the season - but more importantly is quickly assuming the level of play achieved in his freshman year when posting a 39.0% 3PT effort. After slipping in 2010-11 (31.9% 3PT), Gantt is back on track and currently enjoys a 41.2% mark from beyond the arc. The team is now 5-1 when he pitches in 8 or more baskets for the contest overall.

Ray Taylor made a solid return from injured status against the Trojans with 15 points and five assists, but Alex Tucker will continue to run things from the tip for the Owls.

"I like our team better with him coming off the bench", said head coach Mike Jarvis. "I just may have found the sixth man I've been looking for."

Enduring a 4-10 start for 2011-12, Florida Atlantic appears to have turned the tide, going 3-2 in their last five contests. Finally at a .500 mark in league play the Owls sit almost dead center in position standings against opponents as well. A win on Saturday would play critically in the timing of solidifying them within the top half of the conference.

"FIU has got a lot of talent. We've been very, very fortunate to beat them, and I know those games are going to be dog fights", Jarvis said on the Sun Belt's 2011 Media Day.

Jarvis is 4-2 all-time versus the Panthers.


Panthers at a Glance

Florida International is coming off a 65-62 win over South Alabama on Thursday at the Mitchell Center in Mobile, Al. With the teams deadlocked 30-30 at the break, FIU would lead by as many as six point before finding themselves in the hole late. DeJuan Wright's old fashion three point play with just :59 remaining gave the Panthers the games last lead 63-62, and Phil Taylor sealed it at the free throw line with a pair of makes. It was the squad's first win in Mobile since February of 2005.

Speaking of free throws, Florida International registered a whopping 33-of-39 (85%) effort in December's 81-63 sail past Western Kentucky. Being the largest margin of defeat for the team on the season, the final tally bucked the other three wins 2.3 point average margin heavily.

Leading rebounder Dominique Ferguson has notched double doubles in six of the Panthers' last seven contests. He currently sits 3rd in the Belt in grabs (7.0 pg). Sophomore guard Phil Taylor is currently atop the Belt in scoring with 15.0 points netted per outing. DeJaun Wright would have that honor at 16.1 ppg, but has not competed in the conference's 75% game participation rule.

FIU's 61.8 ppg is not impressive amongst league member's showings (10th), but their 7.8 pg takeaways is good for the top spot. Jeremy Allen's 49 swipes (2.7 pg, 6th nationally) is driving that category.

The Panthers are just 1-4 (0-4 in last 4) at U.S. Century Bank Arena on the season. And obtaining a first half advantage is crucial for them, as they are 0-7 when trailing at the break.

Isaiah Thomas is 0-4 all-time versus the Owls, and is 23-57 (28.7%) overall since assuming the helm of the Panther program.


Latest Line:

FAU -2


Owl's Nest Prediction

Saturday's match-up could easily be dubbed a battle of underachievers. Last year the teams duked it out twice for a 1.5 point average margin of victory, even though the Owls swept the Panthers. No reason to think that is going to change anytime soon, and this one should be close in the end as well.

The Panthers will likely get to the line plenty of times, however Florida Atlantic should produce better from the floor in the end.

On paper FAU is looking at a 1.4 point advantage, but we'll round up for good measure. Being better in Assists, Blocks, TO's, 3PT%, PPG, and PPGA has to be worth that much.

Vegas is spot on in this one.

FAU -2
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

Getting ready to head on over to the game.  Not sure how many other FAU students, but I'm coming with about 5 guys.  Look for us with the large FAU flag before the game!
Go Owls!!

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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

HootinHollerin said

Getting ready to head on over to the game.  Not sure how many other FAU students, but I'm coming with about 5 guys.  Look for us with the large FAU flag before the game!
Go Owls!!

I'm heading down there too, I think we will have a good amount of fans making the trek - GO OWLS!

FAU Class of '87
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

Starters:

FAU

G Alex Tucker
G Shavar Richardson
G Greg Gantt
F Kelvin Penn
F Kore White


FIU

G Phil Taylor
G DeJuan Wright
G Jeremy Allen
F Dominique Ferguson
C Brandon Moore

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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

Solid crowd on hand!

(not)
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

Panthers using some press to slow the pace down…sink the games first two shots…

FAU 0  FIU 5
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

Owls cold again out of the gate...been a theme, but still a lot of ball to play.
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

On a side note:

Nice touch with the Red Uni's!
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

15:30

FAU 4  FIU 8

McCoy nearly takes a nice alley pass from Tucker…….
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 01/21/12 @ 2:00PM

Owls opened in a zone…abandon that quickly.

Man to man now…
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