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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM




What: Florida Atlantic (11-14, 7-5) vs Western Kentucky (8-17, 4-8)

When: Thursday, Feb. 16th @ 8:00 PM EST

Where: E.A. Diddle Arena

TV: Fox College Sports/DirecTV 623

Live Video:

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WKUSports.tv (PPV)

Internet Broadcast: Here

Live Stats:

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Here

Hilltoppers Team Site: Here


Probable Starters:

FAU

G Ray Taylor 9.8 ppg
G Alex Tucker 4.6 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.3 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 7.3 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 2.5 ppg


WKU

G Jamal Crook 9.1 ppg
G Derrick Gordan 11.4 ppg
G T.J. Price 9.2 ppg
F Vinny Zollo 4.0 ppg
F Teeng Akol 4.7 ppg


The Series

The Owls still trail 9-3 all-time, but narrowed the gap a digit with a 67-66 victory at FAU Arena in January. FAU trailed by nine with just 5:13 to play however finished strong. Shavar Richardson dropped 25 points, with Jordan McCoy adding 10 points and seven rebounds. The Owls also saw a season high 8 blocks on the night, but none was more important than Kelvin Penn's thwarting of WKU's would be shot for the win.


Owls at a Glance

Following Florida Atlantic lately has not been for the faint of heart. With some of the best talent in the West visiting last week, first the team polished off Denver in nail biting fashion 72-71. As if that wasn't enough, they then produce the incredible feat of returning from 19 points down to dismantle North Texas 86-81 in 2OT.

A common denominator in both triumphs: Shavar Richardson.

While he may not have been the leading scorer, or posted the most minutes, the senior had the ball placed in his hands on both occasions with high expectations attached to it. He nailed a pair of game winning free throws against the Pioneers with just over a second left. Later versus North Texas, and the Owls needing a score and only :04 seconds to shoot, he took an inbounds pass and drained a three to put the contest out of reach. It's easy to conclude that without those two accomplishments, the games are likely on the other side of the win-loss column.

Fittingly, Richardson (951) is quickly closing in on his 1,000th career point for the Owls. With four regular season contests remaining and a 6.2 ppg average, here's to hoping he pulls it off.

Returning to the trail against the Hilltoppers, FAU concludes their longest home stretch of the season at 2-1, and is needing to keep momentum in order to claim a valuable spot in the Sun Belt Tournament. Particularly, a bye on day one's action.

Jarvis thinks the road may be the best place for the team considering how things have panned out as of late.

"I don't know what it is, but the guys seems to play a little tight at home", said Jarvis. "Maybe they are trying to impress the fans too much."

Whatever the reason, out of the four games remaining this will be the toughest stretch to endure. They can make more history on Thursday with a win as the Hilltoppers represent the only team remaining in the conference that the Owls have not swept during the regular season. Additionally, Coach Jarvis' league mark would top .500 for the first time in his tenure as the head man.

Forward Kore White is coming off the best performance of his career against North Texas, posting 23 points to go with nine rebounds and three swats.

The Owls have been outpaced from the floor in FG% for their last four outings, but set a season high mark in takeaways with 17 against UNT. They are 5-11 away from Boca Raton for 2011-12.


Hilltoppers at a Glance

Not sure why Troy seems to have WKU's number on the road as of late, but they do.

On Saturday the Hilltoppers looked to be in control over the Trojans with a somewhat comfortable lead 39-30 at the break. The second half would be different story however, as Troy outscored them 53-38 behind six long balls and a 51.6% effort from the floor overall. Western Kentucky would lose 83-77, their fourth straight at Sartain Hall.

The squad has gone 2-2 since their last meeting with the Owls. After picking up wins immediately therafter over both Florida International (61-51) and South Alabama (75-66), they suffered back-to-back losses against Middle Tennessee (64-72) and Troy.

And with offensive proficiency still lacking (38.5% FG last SBC), Interim Head Coach Ray Harper appears to have changed the team's scoring strategy a bit. WKU took just 10 attempts from downtown against Florida Atlantic previously, but has since tossed up 26, 14, 21, and 26 efforts thereafter. Unfortunately it hasn't paid much dividends as they occupy the 11th spot in the SBC while sporting just a 30.4% success rate for the season.

T.J. Price was recently returned to the starting five replacing Kahlil McDonald, and has led the squad in scoring three of the last four games.

The Hilltoppers are 5-0 on the season when surrendering 60 points or less in a game, but 3-17 when the opponent tally tops that mark.

They bring a 5-7 mark at E.A. Diddle Arena into Thursday's tilt.


Latest Line:

FAU -1.5


Owl's Nest Prediction

Hard to fathom another outcome like the last meeting, but that is exactly what could happen given the stakes at hand for both teams. Western Kentucky is hungry for a win, and will use their earlier meltdown as motivation to even the score.

From a numbers perspective however, nearly everything else favors the Owls.

Hold on tight.


FAU -1
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

Can't wait

It's Owl Time!
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

Starters:

FAU

G Ray Taylor
G Alex Tucker
G Shavar Richardson
G Pablo Bertone
F Kore White


WKU

G Derrick Gordan
G Jamal Crook
G T.J. Price
F George Fant
F Teeng Akol
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

And we're underway…Owls control…
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

Bertone scores the game's first two baskets…WKU looking rusty out of the gate…
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

So much for the three point attempts as of late...The Toppers appear to be going right to work inside - again.
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

Richardson Three!!!

:D

(Love saying that)
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

15:49

FAU 9  WKU 5

Good start for the Owls…….
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

Early numbers…

FAU 50.0% FG

WKU 33.3% FG

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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ Western Kentucky - 02/16/12 @ 8:00PM

Owls show some of the best ball movement I've seen all year setting up Bertone for a THREE.

Nice…
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