GAME THREAD: FAU @ North Texas - 02/21/13 @ 8:00 PM
GAME THREAD: FAU @ North Texas - 02/21/13 @ 8:00 PM
What: Florida Atlantic (12-16, 7-10) vs North Texas (10-18, 5-12)
When: Thursday, Feb. 21st @ 8:00 PM EST
Where: The Super Pit
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Live Stats: Here
G Stefan Moody 14.4 ppg
G Greg Gantt 21.4 ppg
G Richard Morrow 3.8 ppg
F Jordan McCoy 5.7 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 1.3 ppg
G P.J Harwick 3.7 ppg
G Jordan Williams 14.1 ppg
G Alzee Williams 10.7 ppg
F Tony Mitchell 13.3 ppg
F Roger Franklin 11.4 ppg
The Mean Green lead 6-3, but not with ease given the the last two contests seeing extra frames. Earlier this season on January 19th, Tony Mitchell posted a 24 point and eight rebound performance as North Texas eked out a 61-59 win at FAU Arena.
The Owls led 53-51 with :20 remaining in regulation, but a lay-up by Tony Franklin gave UNT the needed spark to force the additional period in a game which featured saw six ties and nine lead changes.
Greg Gantt's 22 points (5-of-11 3PT) produced the high score for Florida Atlantic. Stefan Moody pitched in 12, and Dragan Sekelja notched his best overall showing on the year with eight points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes of action.
Owls at a Glance
With just three games remaining, FAU will have to settle for a below .500 regular season mark in 2012-13. Last Saturday's 57-58 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette made this a reality. But should they win out, a 15 win mark would be in order - one that has been achieved only nine times in the program's 26 year existence.
Things could have just as easily turned out differently, as FAU has dropped seven games by a total of 11 combined points, something whcih Coach Mike Jarvis is keeping in front of the team's eyes with illustrative purpose.
"We need to find the cure for cancer, and how we're going to finish the games", commented Jarvis. "In every game we've basically been in the lead, and sometimes in the last couple of minutes. We're seven stops away from having 19 wins right now - two away from matching the best in FAU history - that's how I look at it and that's what I tell the guys.
Greg Gantt has found himself with the ball during two of those situations recently with turnovers resulting. This has Jarvis confirming the need for immediate change in late game situations where execution is critical.
"He (Gantt) really shouldn't be my go-to guy. We've got to make sure he's not the one that's trying to bring the ball up the court at the end of a game", commented Jarvis. "It has to be Stefan, we've got a better chance of something happening if he's go the ball in his hands. The idea would be to have him get it to Greg."
Despite the loss, Gantt broke Paul Grahamís single season scoring record (575 pts, 2008-09') against the Cajuns, and now has 580 points on the season. He now needs just six more three-pointers to surpass Earnest Crumbley's total (286) for most career three-pointers in school history.
With time winding down, Jordan McCoy has kicked into high gear. As if the previous week wasn't enough, the Orlando native grabbed a career high 17 rebounds against the Cajuns. That was the highest total since Brett Royster had 15 against South Alabama in the 2010 Sun Belt Conference tournament. Needless to say, the senior forward is peaking at the right time.
"He's practiced well again this week, so there's no reason for him not to continue to play well", Jarvis said of McCoy.
On a celebratory note, the trip to Denton marks the final official road contest, although it won't be the last visit there with North Texas slated to move to Conference USA as well. The Owls come into Thursday's match-up 1-4 all time at the Super Pit.
Kelvin Penn is now third in FAU history in career blocked shots with 108.
Jackson Trapp is listed as questionable for the game, but could see action if needed action. The starting five will continue to employ a three guard, two forward set.
"I'm more concerned about having him (Trapp) at 100%, or at least 90% by the time we get to the Sun Belt Tournament", Jarvis Said. "Right now we can't really take Greg or Stefan off the court, and that's not good."
Pablo Bertone is out for the contest with a continued illness which began shortly before Saturday's game against ULL.
Mean Green at a Glance
North Texas will looking to move to 6-7 on the year at home on Thursday night, with the banner win being a 66-56 victory over South Alabama on January 12th.
The team earned a split a two game road swing last week, losing to Louisiana-Monroe 73-85 before slipping past and Troy 63-61. The win at Troy was only the second road victory of the year, and saw just five players practically absorb all the time as the roster continues to be plagued by the injury bug. Jordan Williams† dropped a game best 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting, seven of which came from beyond the arc. Overall the squad posted a 77.8% mark from the floor during the second period.
The win puts UNT at 5-5 against the Sun Belt East Division, while they ironically remain 0-7 against their home West Division.
Williams is playing as well as any guard in the country right now, and averaged 23.5 points per game on 69.6 percent shooting from the floor last week. This seven 3-pointers are the most by any Sun Belt player this year, and only four players in North Texas history landed more.
Williams is now averaging 16.5 points per game in Sun Belt play, which ranks fourth in the league. His 43.8 percent clip from 3-point in league play ranks second in the SBC.
Last Thursday at ULM, Tony Mitchell snapped his own school record for blocked shots in season. He now has 75 blocks in 2012-13, surpassing his personal mark of 70 set last year. This also pushed him into program best marks in top two blocks in a season, as well as the career blocks mark.
Mitchell is averaging 23.0 points and 14.5 rebounds in his two appearances against the Owls, and the quartet of Mitchell, Jordan Williams, Roger Franklin and Alzee Williams has accounted for 83.7 percent of NTís scoring over the last eight games.
North Texas is currently the No. 10 seed for the SBC Tournament, and is just 1.5 games behind Louisiana-Lafayette and Troy.
"We're capable of beating any team in this league. We're going to get better every day", said North Texas Coach Tony Benford. 'The team playing well at the end of the season has a chance to win the conference tournament."
Should the action start today, they would be paired up with the Owls, who sit in the would face No. 7 spot.
Owl's Nest Prediction
This one is dead even on neutral grounds with a full roster. If it were being played there, and they were healthy, would probably give it to the Owls.
However, they haven't necessarily been stellar on the road, and the loss of Bertone means almost 9 points have to be made up.
Re: Game Preview: FAU @ North Texas - 02/21/13 @ 8:00 PM
Tony Mitchell not in the starting lineup tonight due to breaking team rules https://twitter.com/search/%23MeanGreen https://twitter.com/search/%23SportDFW
— Justin Brumit (@JustinBrumit) February 22, 2013