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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

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GAME THREAD: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM




What: Florida Atlantic (11-13, 6-7) vs Florida International (12-10, 7-6)

When: Thursday, Feb. 7th @ 7:00 PM EST

Where: U.S. Century Bank Arena

Panthers Team Site: Here


TV: None

Live Video: PantherVision

Internet Broadcast: Here

Live Stats: Here if Available


Probable Starters:

FAU

G Stefan Moody 14.4 ppg
G Greg Gantt 21.1 ppg
G Jackson Trapp 5.6 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 8.3 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 1.3 ppg


FIU

G Deric Hill 4.7 ppg
G Malik Smith 14.5 ppg
G Marco Porcher-Jimenez 6.5 ppg
F Jerome Frink 10.1 ppg
F Tymell Murphy 15.3 ppg


The Series

The Panthers edged forward in the all-time mark 15-14 after handing the Owls a disappointing 76-56 loss at FAU Arena just over a year ago. Florida Atlantic actually led at the break 29-28 only to see FIU romp to a +21 scoring spree in the second half.

In a physical contest, the Owls struggled to find the basket, going just 12-of-23 on the night at the charity stripe, and 6-of-27 (22.2%) from long distance.

Greg Gantt sank a game best 21 points in the loss, with Shavar Richardson pitching in 10 points.


Owls at a Glance

At 3-9 while away from Boca Raton on the year, Florida Atlantic isn't proving to be a road warrior. And if ever there was a time to change that trend it is now, especially holding on to a 7th place spot in the league standings with 4-of-7 games left to play in enemy confines.

Florida Atlantic split last week's slate, knocking off ULM 76-71 at FAU Arena, before seeing another second half get away in a 56-73 loss to league leader Middle Tennessee. The Owls had the game to within five points just before the Blue Raiders simply turned up the heat mid way through the period, securing their 20th win on the year in the process.

"We make bad mistakes at the worst times, and there's not a whole lot of margin for error when you play against a really good team", said Coach Mike Jarvis. "You have to be able to capitalize when the opportunity arises, and we just haven't been able to do that."

Turnovers were relatively down from an overall standpoint at 15 for the contest, but MTSU was able to cash in off 21 points in the end.

However, the Owls got some strong play from the freshmen duo of Stefan Moody and Jackson Trapp - a good sign considering the need to establish more balanced play across the line-up on both ends of the floor. Trapp finished with arguably his best outing on the year - posting nine points, three assists, three blocks, and two steals in 28 minutes of action.

"He (Trapp) played a good solid game, and he looked like he belonged on the court and was not afraid, but we've got to find a few more guys that can get it done", Jarvis said.

The Owls will finally face a team on Thursday that is just about inch for inch on their level within the consistent rotation (more on that below), and one would think that has to match up favorably as Penn has seen a tough time in games guarding taller opponents while picking up fouls. However, Jarvis is cautiously optimistic due to the style of play he expects to see from FIU at U.S. Century Bank Arena.

"Our front court is not going to have a field day because those guys might out jump us…and Penn better be there, and put himself into a position to be, otherwise the advantage goes to the smaller quicker guy (Tymell Murphy)", said Jarvis. "If we play good defense then they are not going to be able to press, and if we make it a half court game, we win."

To help in the regard, the team has spent some time in practice this week working against the formation, while hoping to offset the Panther's preferred style of uptempo defense.

FAU will once again look to work mostly from the four guard set offensively, while mixing in three-out-two-in sets as well.

Florida Atlantic is 0-6 on the season when recording 56 or fewer total points and 3-9 when registering a shooting mark of 40.8% or below.

They have been outperformed at the charity stripe in the last five games, but still claim the 3rd best league mark at 69.7% while narrowly edging the Panthers (69.6%).

Greg Gantt continues to lead the Sun Belt in scoring with a scoring mark of 21.1 ppg (7th nationally), and sits 6th in three point percentage at 40.1%. He's also seeing the most time with 35.9 minutes per outing.


Panthers at a Glance

Florida International has shown a penchant for hiring storied individuals to run their program. First was former alum Shakey Rodriguez (1995-2000, 79-66), who was let go after 16-14 mark in 2000 amidst primarily academic conduct allegations . He was the first Hispanic head coach at the DI level, and had a highly successful career in high school while leading Miami Senior High to national prominence.

Then came former NBA great Isiah Thomas, who had less than stellar results, posting a 26-65 overall record during his tenure for the rival neighbor to the south. Nothing need be said about the media showcase that has accompanied him.

Today, it's Richard Petino, son of current famed coach Rick Petino - who touts the accomplishment of five former players donning the title of head man at the highest level of collegiate play.

So far, the spotless junior Petino has the Panthers moving in the right direction, guiding the squad to their best win showing in four years (12), with seven games still remaining. How he's done it is worth a note, especially considering the fact that FIU has only three players at 6-5 or better seeing consistent time: Tymell Murphy 6-5, 30.8 mpg, Jerome Frink 6-6, 29.7 mpg, and Tola Akomolafe 6-6, 24.0 mpg. Big men Ivan Jerkovich 7-0, and Joey De La Rosa 6-11, are averaging a combined 15.4 mpg.

The winning scheme appears to be taking the ball away from opponents via on the ball pressure, while primarily depending upon two reliable scoring sources. Accordingly, full court schemes have fit the build for a roster likely in transition towards a picture Petino is hopeful to paint with varying colors down the line.

Touting 18 steals against ULM last Saturday, the Panthers found themselves ranked 13th in the nation (9.6 pg) in the category while leading the Sun Belt Conference outright. They notched 32 takeaways in their two games this past week, and have posted at least 10 in the last eight contests.

Leading scorer Tymell Murphy (15.3 pg, 5th SBC) is boasting a 60.3% mark from the floor - also a league best, and heads into this week’s action ranked 7th nationally. His accomplice, Junior Malik Smith, has drained 66 treys on the year (3 pg, 1st SBC), while continuing his climb up the ladder within the Panther record book (currently 5th).

LIke the Owls, the squad split a pair of conference games this past week, losing a close 66-64 contest to MTSU before later downing ULM 76-73 in another tight affair.

FIU's 69.4 ppg is good enough for a 4th place showing offensively, but they struggle in shot defense, allowing an average 45.3% connect rate to opponents.


Latest Line:

FIU -6.5


Owl's Nest Prediction

Size factors in the Owls' favor for a change, but handling the pesky Panther press does not. This will be a true test for the likes of Gantt, Moody, Bertone, and Trapp. All must display proficient working chemistry against it to keep the turnover count from mounting, as FIU will look to make a living off of them.

This game would be just about a dead heat on paper, but with the home court going FIU's way, will have to give them the nod plus a basket.

FIU -5
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

Hopefully my Morris jersey in the crowd will make it feel like home. I still should pick a weasel any ideas?
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

Owl_Ranger2 said

Hopefully my Morris jersey in the crowd will make it feel like home. I still should pick a weasel any ideas?

Likely choice based on size alone would be PG Deric Hill, who is listed at 5-9, 160 lbs…

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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

Rick said

Owl_Ranger2 said

Hopefully my Morris jersey in the crowd will make it feel like home. I still should pick a weasel any ideas?

Likely choice based on size alone would be PG Deric Hill, who is listed at 5-9, 160 lbs…

I like to pick the leading scoring guard to try to shut him down which looks like Malik Smith.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

FIU is hosting a pre-game program to introduce the football recruiting class. New Head Coach Ron Turner will speak. I believe those activities begin  at 6pm. Free food and drink - even for you dirty Owls.  8)

Hope a good amount of your fans make it down for the game. Safe travels, guys. Go Panthers!
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

pikepanther said

FIU is hosting a pre-game program to introduce the football recruiting class. New Head Coach Ron Turner will speak. I believe those activities begin  at 6pm. Free food and drink - even for you dirty Owls.  8)

Hope a good amount of your fans make it down for the game. Safe travels, guys. Go Panthers!

Pikepanther,

Do you know if the live video on FIUSports.com is free?
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

Yes, Panthervision is free. It can seen on FIUSports.com on your computer or you can download the FIU Athletics app for iPhone and Android.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

pikepanther said

Yes, Panthervision is free. It can seen on FIUSports.com on your computer or you can download the FIU Athletics app for iPhone and Android.

Awesome.  Thanks.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

Owl_Ranger2 said

Rick said

Owl_Ranger2 said

Hopefully my Morris jersey in the crowd will make it feel like home. I still should pick a weasel any ideas?

Likely choice based on size alone would be PG Deric Hill, who is listed at 5-9, 160 lbs…

I like to pick the leading scoring guard to try to shut him down which looks like Malik Smith.


Then Tymell Murphy is your man…
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Re: Game Preview: FAU @ Florida International - 02/07/13 @ 7:00 PM

pikepanther said

FIU is hosting a pre-game program to introduce the football recruiting class. New Head Coach Ron Turner will speak. I believe those activities begin  at 6pm. Free food and drink - even for you dirty Owls.  8)

Hope a good amount of your fans make it down for the game. Safe travels, guys. Go Panthers!

Pike is tied with Civil as my favorite FIU guys. So considering you're the on that actually said com on down, I might actually do it.
I'm bringing a couple guys in my fraternity, nothing big like in the last 2 years.

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