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GAME THREAD: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

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GAME THREAD: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM




What: Florida Atlantic (11-14, 6-8 SBC) vs South Alabama (13-9, 10-4 SBC)

When: Saturday, Feb. 9th @ 8:30 PM EST

Where: Mitchell Center

Jaguars Team Site:Here


TV: Sun Belt Network / Espn3.com

Live Video: South Alabama All-Access (Fee)

Internet Broadcast: Here

Live Stats: Here


Probable Starters:

FAU

G Greg Gantt 21.0 ppg
G Stefan Moody 14.1 ppg
G Richard Morrow 3.5 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 8.6 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 1.3 ppg


USA

G Dre Conner 5.0 ppg
G Antoine Allen 9.2 ppg
G Mychal Ammons 10.8 ppg
F Javier Carter 6.4 ppg
F Augustine Rubit 19.0 ppg


The Series

South Alabama has won the last three meetings in the series and holds a 10-4 all time advantage over Florida Atlantic.

Earlier this season the Jaguars took down the Owls 77-66 on the road. South Alabama held a double-digit halftime lead, which was aided by strong shooting and eight first-half turnovers from FAU. Xavier Robinson finished with 23 points for the Jaguars on 5-of-8 shooting from behind the arc while Greg Gantt paced the Owls with 29 points of his own.

FAU is 2-1 in their last three games played at the Mitchell Center.


Owls at a Glance

FAU dropped their second straight game Thursday night, losing 84-65 to FIU on the road. The Owls held an early lead in the contest, but a 19-4 run by the Panthers midway through the first half resulted in a blowout victory for FIU.

The defeat moved FAU to 11-14 (6-8) on the season, and marked the fifth loss in the last six games for the team.

The Owls turned the ball over 20 times in the contest, and failed to play effective defense.

“What didn’t work, is what we didn’t do,” head coach Mike Jarvis said. “We didn’t follow through on what we where suppose to do. We started out the game for the first couple of minutes and they couldn’t get a good shot off, then all of the sudden we weren’t doing what we where suppose to do. The game just fell apart in the second part of the first half.”

FAU struggled on both ends of the court, and where simply outplayed by the rival Panthers. They failed to engage in the half court offense, and allowed for FIU to extend numerous runs throughout the night that secured a double-digit victory.

Forward Jordan McCoy was able to produce a career-high 19 points in the loss, but his individual efforts weren't enough.

“I thought he played great against FIU, but he always seems to do that,” Jarvis said. “With Jordan he just needs to be aggressive and go after the ball. He doesn't need to dribble it when he gets the ball, instead just finish.”

McCoy entered the game off of the bench, and was able to tie his career-high in points that he had previously set against FIU. He was also able to snag nine rebounds in 31 minutes of action and was the team's lone bright spot on a night to forget.

Greg Gantt - the Sun Belt Conference’s leading scorer - finished just 2-of-10 from 3-point range, as the Owls shot a dismal 22.7% from behind the arc.

Gantt managed 19 points of his own, but wasn’t his noticeable self on offense.

FAU is now 2-7 this season when hitting five 3-pointers or less and are 0-4 in contests in which they shoot 22.7% or worse from behind the arc.

Dragan Sekelja and Kelvin Penn combined for a mere two points in 18 minutes of action against the Panthers, as both players proved to be ineffective. The duo will be needed on Saturday, as they will be matched up against one of the conference's top players in Rubit.

South Alabama will provide an opportunity for FAU to redeem themselves and start the process of turning things around. Having won just one game in the last three weeks, Jarvis feels that the squad will could use this stretch of losses as a learning experience.

“If I was walking through my neighborhood and I got beat up by anybody, I would want to go right back to that neighborhood. To me it’s like the first time my son or daughter fell off the bike… you get right back up on the bike. So in a way it’s a blessing that we are going right away back to play. Guys will find about themselves, I’ll find out about them. There is no waiting until next week, so I’m kind of glad we are going into action on Saturday,” Jarvis said.


Jaguars at a Glance

With a 13-9 (10-4) record, South Alabama currently stand as one of the top teams in the Sun Belt Conference and have won five of their last six games. The Jaguars are playing some of their best basketball of the season, and are perfect at home over the last four games.

On Thursday night the Jaguars took down Troy, winning 65-62 at the Mitchell Center. Forward Augustine Rubit led the team with 21 points and 12 rebounds, but it was stout free throw shooting the proved to be the deciding factor.

USA hit 20 consecutive free throws to close out the game, after starting the night a poor 4-of-13 from the line.

“That was a really hard-fought game,” USA interim head coach Jeff Price said. “I don't think anything is going to be easy for us at this point and it's just a really hard-fought game.”

Price has taken control of the Jaguars after longtime head coach Ronnie Arrow abruptly decided to retire in December. The position isn’t Price’s first head coaching gig, as the 53-year old has coached at Lynn University and Georgia Southern providing 18 years of experience.

Since the transition to Price, USA is 8-4 overall and trails Middle Tennessee State by just three games in the Sun Belt Conference Eastern division.

Rubit - who earned preseason all-conference honors - ranks second in the conference in scoring and is averaging a fruitful 19.0 points per game. The junior has reached double-digits in scoring in all but one game this season, but more importantly stands as the top rebounder in the conference averaging 10.9 boards per game.

In the win over Troy, Rubit was dominate in the paint and hit 11-of-15 free throws.

“Our free throw shooting was tremendous down the stretch,” Price said. “We had 20 consecutive free throws which is outstanding. That won the game for us.”

Rubit will provide a difficult matchup for the Owls big men, as he thrives around the basket. He has recorded 39 double-doubles in his career and 13 this season.

Outside of the bulldozing forward, and individual to keep your eye on is sophomore guard Michael Ammons. The teams second leading scorer, Ammons has been relied on heavily after junior guard Xavier Robinson was suspended indefinitely for violating team and university rules.

Ammons is averaging 10.8 points per game, and is the squads strongest three-point shooter. In a win over FIU earlier this season he scored a team-high 21 points after knocking down five three-pointers.

South Alabama is 7-4 at home this season, and averaging 69.2 points per game. The Jaguars are 8-2 this season when their field goal percentage is 41.9% or better and have outshot their opponents over the past six games.


Latest Line:

USA -9


Owl's Nest Prediction

The Owls desperately need to turn things around before the Sun Belt Conference Tournament starts, and a win over South Alabama would do wonders. The Jaguars however are a strong squad playing quality basketball presently and poses one of the top forwards in the league in Rubit.

This will be a difficult road trip for the Owls - who are traveling to Alabama after a collapse in Miami. If they hope to steal a victory they will need to limit the turnovers and find some type of identity on offense. That being said, we think the Jaguars will prove to be too much for FAU to handle.

Look for FAU to keep it close early, but the scoring of Rubit to prevail.

USA -8

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

Channel 32 locally tonight…….

Need a win!
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

I'll be happy with just keeping it close..which is extremely sad. I'd just like to see us start to get better since the regular season is pretty meaningless now. Let's just get better so we're at our best come tourney time.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

FYI, the game is blacked out on ESPN3.com.

Also…

Considering that the SBC tournament champion goes to the tournament, the regular season has always been pretty pointless.

EDIT: I thought this was an SBC thing but now I'm reading on Wikipedia that "A total of 68 teams qualify for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament played in March and April. Thirty-one teams earn automatic bids as their respective conference champions. Thirty of the thirty-one conferences hold championship tournaments to determine which team receives the automatic qualification. Only the Ivy League does not conduct a post-season tournament; its automatic bid goes to the regular-season conference champion."

So we'll have to compete for the automatic bid every year regardless of conference affiliation. Did not know that.

Granted, there is the at-large berth but even in our best year under Jarvis we weren't selected, so… there's that.

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

Tonight's Starters:

FAU

G Stefan Moody
G Greg Gantt
G Richard Morrow
G Jordan McCoy
F Kelvin Penn


USA

G Dre Conner
G Antoine Allen
G Mychal Ammons
F Javier Carter
F Augustine Rubit
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

And we're underway…Jags control the tip.
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

Owls first shot not a good one... air ball by Moody.......
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

Penn with the lefty hook!

;D
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

Jags with an early 4-2 lead…

17:58
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Re: GAME THREAD: FAU @ South Alabama - 02/09/13 @ 8:30 PM

USA is without normal pest Freddie Goldstein tonight…his career is very likely over:

Broken Clavicle Ends Goldstein's 2012-13 Season
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