GAME THREAD: FAU @ Louisiana-Lafayette - 02/16/13 @ 8:15 PM
GAME THREAD: FAU @ Louisiana-Lafayette - 02/16/13 @ 8:15 PM
What: Florida Atlantic (12-15, 7-9 SBC) vs Louisiana-Lafayette (9-17, 5-10 SBC)
When: Saturday, Feb. 16th @ 8:15 PM EST
Where: The Cajundome
Cajuns' Team Site: Here
Live Video: Ragin' Cajuns All Access
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
G Greg Gantt 21.5 ppg
G Stefan Moody 14.7 ppg
G Richard Morrow 3.9 ppg
F Jordan McCoy 5.6 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 1.3 ppg
G Bryant Mbamalu 14.3 ppg
G Elfrid Payton 15.3 ppg
G Alan-Michael Thompson 7.4 ppg
F Shawn Long 15.6 ppg
F Elridge Moore 5.2 ppg
The Ragin' Cajuns claim a 5-3 advantage all-time in the series and have won two of the last three meetings between the schools. Last month FAU was able to secure a 75-70 over Louisiana-Lafayette behind the scoring of Greg Gantt (23), Stefan Moody (16) and Pablo Bertone (12). The Owls out-rebounded the Ragin' Cajuns and where able to make necessary free throws in the second half. Moody hauled in a career-high nine rebounds in the winning effort.
FAU is 0-3 all-time at the Cajundome.
Owls at a Glance
Florida Atlantic snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday night, taking down Western Kentucky 84-78 at home. The win gave the Owls their first of the month and displayed one of the team's strongest offensive performances of the season.
The Owls shot a season-high 59.1% from the field - including 52.9% from downtown - and led by as many as 14 points in the second half.
"They (the team) played a good game, but they still could have played better," head coach Mike Jarvis said. “They turned the ball over too much, but we’re doing a lot of other things well.”
The win gave FAU their second of the season over the Hilltoppers and marked the first sweep of the program in school history.
WKU was able to cut the lead to a slim five points with less than a minute remaining in regulation before strong free throw shooting would secure the win for FAU. The Owl's converted on 23-of-28 attempts at the line, but turned the ball over 18 times.
Greg Gantt scored a game-high 31 points, giving him his second highest scoring total of the season, while Stefan Moody produced a career-high 26 points of his own.
The duo combined for 8-of-15 on the 3-pointers and was 13-of-16 from the free throw line. The 23 free throws the team converted on, was a season-high for FAU.
“With us, the best night’s we have shooting from the free throw line is when our best free throw shooters are going to the line. If Moody and Gantt go to the line, we are going to shoot well from the line. It’s when a whole lot of other people go to the line we struggle,” Jarvis said.
Gantt and Moody played every minute of the contest and continued to attack the rim throughout the night. Moody scored 17 of his points in the second half, and was able to feed off of the production from Gantt in the first half.
Pablo Bertone added 12 points and a career-high seven assists to go along with six rebounds off the bench.
“He played well. I don’t wont to minimize the assists he had, but there was times he may not have lost the ball, but we lost the ball. He still at times needs to know when to slow down, but he played a lot better and within himself,” Jarvis said.
FAU ranks dead last in the Sun Belt Conference in assists-to-turnover ratio, and has turned the ball over 430 times this season. The Owls have recorded more turnovers than their opponents in the past four games, but are 8-3 when Bertone scores 12 points or more this season.
The Owls are 3-10 on the road this season and have dropped four straight away from the Burrow. Louisiana-Lafyatee will give the squad an opportunity to carry over the moment gained in the win over WKU, and grab a win on the road.
“We have had some good shooting nights, but like I have said, I think we need to play better on the defensive end and take care of the ball. We want to play hard, we want to play within ourselves. We want to have more assists to turnovers, and we want to have more rebounds,” Jarvis said.
Ragin' Cajuns at a Glance
Louisiana-Lafayette fell to South Alabama Thursday night losing 88-64 on the road. The Ragin’ Cajuns failed to contain the Sun Belt Conference’s second leading scorer in Augustine Rubit - who tallied a career-high 34 points - as the team couldn’t play effective defense.
The Ragin’ Cajuns surrendered a 9-0 run before halftime, and weren't able to cut into the deficit after the break. The loss handed the team it's fifth loss in the last seven games and moved them to 9-17 (5-10) on the season.
“We had fought hard to stay close, but once they opened the game up, it was hard for us to come back,” Louisiana-Lafayette Head Coach Bob Marlin said of the loss. You are not going to win a game when your opponent shoots 16 free throws in the first half and you only get one.”
Elfrid Payton led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 17 points and seven assists while Shawn Long recorded 11 points and eight rebounds. The team shot 42.1% from the floor, but allowed for the Jaguars to attempt 36 free throws - which became the deciding factor.
Payton’s seven assists gave him his fifth straight game with four assists or more and 19th of the season. The sophomore guard leads the conference in assists and is averaging a ripe 5.3 per game. In the matchup against FAU earlier this season he poured in 23 points to go along with three assists.
Louisiana-Lafayette leads the Sun Belt Conference in scoring, averaging 71.0 points per game. They have a trio of players that average double-figures in scoring led by Long, who ranks fourth in the conference averaging 15.6 points per outing. The freshman forward is also second in the league in rebounding averaging 10.4 boards per game, and has 15 double-doubles to his name this season.
Along with Long, both Payton (15.3 ppg) and Bryant Mbamalu (14.3 ppg) average double-digits in scoring. Payton is the team’s point guard, while Mbamalu fills the role of the shooting guard. Mbamalu leads the team in 3-point percentage and is averaging five attempts per game from behind the arc.
The key for the Ragin’ Cajuns this season has been at the free throw line. The team is shooting 66.3% at the line, but are 0-14 this season when recording 12 or fewer free throws made. In the loss to South Alabama they converted on just 12-of-18 free throw attempts.
Louisiana-Lafayette is 8-4 at home this season and has won just one game away from the Cajundome.
ULL - 5.5
Owl's Nest Prediction
On paper both of these teams are very similar. FAU was able to grind out a win over Louisiana-Lafyatee earlier this season because of strong free throw shooting - something the Ragin' Cajuns have struggled with.
Jarvis and his players think they have started to turn the corner as a unit and are playing potent basketball. Saturday against the Ragin' Cajuns they will have an opportunity to prove that. The Owls are a better defensive team, but have to limit their own turnovers on the offensive end of the court.
We see this as another tight dual on the road, but think the Owls will falter in the closing minutes.
ULL - 2