GAME THREAD: FAU @ Arkansas State - 01/26/13 @ 8:30 PM
GAME THREAD: FAU @ Arkansas State - 01/26/13 @ 8:30 PM
What: Florida Atlantic (10-11, 5-5) vs Arkansas State (11-8, 5-5)
When: Saturday, Jan. 26th @ 8:30 PM EST
Where: The Convocation Center
Red Wolves Team Site: Here
TV: CSS, ESPN3 (subject to blackout)
Live Video: None
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
G Stefan Moody 14.8 ppg
G Greg Gantt 22.0 ppg
F Jackson Trapp 5.5 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 1.3 ppg
C Dragan Sekelja 3.7 ppg
G Cameron Golden 7.3 ppg
G Trey Finn 8.9 ppg
G Ed Townsel 15.4 ppg
F Brandon Peterson 11.2 ppg
F Kelvin Downs 2.2 ppg
Florida Atlantic owns a 5-2 mark overall against the Red Wolves. The squads met earlier this season with the Owls pulling out a 72-65 victory in The Burrow.
Florida Atlantic was hot from long range, shooting a healthy 7-of-14 for the night. Greg Gantt notched three in his 29 points, and Stefan Moody hit a pair himself en route to a 22 point showing.
Despite a lukewarm shooting performance, the Red Wolves did manage to take the glass 37-34.
Owls at a Glance
FAU will make its fifth television appearance of 2012-13 on Saturday against the Red Wolves. They are currently 1-3 in prime time settings, although the caliber of hosts have not been favorable towards wins, and all contests have been on the road.
The Owls saw a 22 point first half lead vanish into thin air on Thursday night, as UALR pulled away slowly but surely for a 65-62 win at the Jack Stephens Center. Free throw shooting was the main culprit, with Florida Atlantic hoisting up a 47.4% effort (9-of-19); which was well below their season mark of 72.5%.
"That was mainly Dragan, he was 1-for-8, and then Gregg missed the clutch free throw", said Coach Mike Jarvis. "But you know what, we were overrunning guys, fouling guys, then take a couple of missed free throws; if you don't do any one of those things, you end up winning the game. It was ridiculous. It was what we did, not what they (UALR) did."
With seven rebounds, Senior forward Jordan McCoy (486 career) locked up sixth place in all time program rebounds, surpassing Cedric Peoples (482, 1993-96). He'll next set his sights on conquering 5th place, which is held by Mike Bell (514, 2003-04).
But look for lineup changes in Jonesboro, with Trap and Sekelja possibly moving back into starting roles.
"This is the fifth game of the year we lost and should have won because of not being tough enough to finish", Jarvis explained. "I've gone with certain guys for too long and it's now time for change. They will play, but will not be in the game when it is on the line."
Of course this is being prompted with the intentions of eliminating results like those seen in games against Elon, Stetson, Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas, and last night Arkansas-Little Rock - where large leads turned into disappointments in the end.
"I tell the team it's like the movie Ground Hog Day" Jarvis remarked. "Everyday we wake up and it's the same thing. We've got to stop being groundhogs and start becoming Owls - the fierce warriors of the woods."
Barring any unforeseen scheduling, which is highly unlikely to happen, Saturday's visit to The Convocation Center will conclude recent year's multi-game road trips through the "The Natural State". The Owls will be heading into CUSA's territories come this time next year, and is something Jarvis welcomes, while acknowledging areas of opportunity for a smooth transition as well.
"I'm excited about trying to build a basketball program, but we've got a lot of work to do", said Jarvis when reflecting on the broader picture. "We've got to get better players, and they've got to provide us with better resources and facilities. Everybody's got a part to play, and if they (collaborative) do, it will be a great move."
With a league best mark of 38.7%, FAU has outshot their opponents in 3-point percentage for the last nine contests in a row, and Greg Gantt and Stefan Moody have secured 10+ points in their last 18 and seven games, respectively.
They still have some work to do in the the turnover category though, sitting dead last with a -3.24 pg effort against the opposition.
Red Wolves at a Glance
Arkansas State is 8-2 at home on the year, and will be happy to head there after succumbing to Troy 67-74 in OT on Thursday.
The Red Wolves were out in front after the first period (33-26) only to be outdone 48-34 the rest of the way, including a 6-13 deficit in the extra frame.
F Brandon Peterson notched his seventh double-double on the year with 15 points and 12 grabs, and PG Cameron Golden posted a game high 18 points in the loss. Peterson currently sits 3rd in the SBC in both rebounds (9.6 pg), and shooting percentage (56.7%).
Senior Trey Finn had seen a four game stretch in double figures, but saw that come to an end while adding six for the Red Wolves.
Rounding out notable offensive rankings, Ed Townsell is tied for 4th in points per outing the SBC with 15.4 pg. He also remains the squads most notable threat from long range, with a unit best 36.6% success rate on 52 tries.
Like Jarvis, Red Wolve's head man John Brady has tinkered with his starting five. Gone from the initial line-up in this season's earlier meeting against the Owls, and now coming off the bench, are G Marcus Hooten, and F Kendrick Washington. The duo accounted for 24 of ASU's points after tying for a team best 12 each.
ASU has lost three of the last four, and are 0-4 on the year when games are decided by five points or less.
However, they are number one in the Sun Belt in steals (9.7 pg), turnover margin (+3.53 pg), and offensive rebounds (13.8 pg).
Owl's Nest Prediction
With some likely adjustments to the Owls' rotation in store, new chemistry will need to be formulated on Saturday; which could have an undesired affect initially. It takes time to adapt to roles, but the thought is it will pay off long term even if there are some early bumps in the road.
Meanwhile, Arkansas State continues to be one of the best defensive teams in the league trailing only to MTSU in the standings.
There were six ties and six lead changes in December's tilt, and there is no reason to believe that won't be the case on Saturday as well.
However, given all factors, we're going to have to give the nod to the Red Wolves.
ASU - 9