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GAME THREAD: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

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GAME THREAD: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM




What: Louisiana-Lafayette (6-9, 2-2 SBC) vs FAU (7-8, 2-2 SBC)

When: Thursday Jan. 3rd @ 7:00 PM

Where: FAU Arena

TV: None

Live Video: None

Internet Broadcast: Here

Live Stats: Here

Ragin' Cajuns Team Site: Here


Probable Starters:


Louisiana-Lafayette

G- Elfrid Payton 13.7 ppg
G- Steven Wronkoski 7.5 ppg
F- Shawn Long 16.3 ppg
F- Elridge Moore 5.5 ppg
F- Bryant Mbamalu 12.9 ppg

FAU

G- Stefan Moody 13.8 ppg
G- Greg Gantt 22.4 ppg
G- Pablo Bertone 8.2 ppg
F- Jordan McCoy 5.5 ppg
F- Kelvin Penn 1.2 ppg


The series:

The schools have met seven times over the years with Louisiana-Lafayette owning the all-time series 4-3.

Last season, the Ragin’ Cajuns raced out to a double-digit advantage at home, before securing a 67-55 victory over the Owls. Greg Gantt came off the bench to give FAU 15 points, but the team shot a poor 2-of-13 (15.4%) from three-point range and trailed the entire game. Kelvin Penn led the team in minutes and finished with nine rebounds and four steals.

The Owls three wins in the series have all came at the Burrow.


Louisiana-Lafayette at a Glance:

Currently tied for first place in the Sun Belt Conference West Division, the Ragin’ Cajuns took down Arkansas-Little Rock 79-70 on Saturday night to improve to 6-9 (2-2) on the season.

After a 2011-12 campaign that featured a trip to the postseason CIT Tournament, the Ragin’ Cajuns are a youthful squad looking to build upon last season’s success. The roster includes five freshman and four sophomores – with a majority seeing meaningful minutes.

In the win over Arkansas-Little Rock, two freshmen started, but it was veteran forward Bryant Mbamalu who paced the team with 26 points. The junior has scored 20 or more points in three of the last four games and is known for his ability to work around the basket.

Along with the offensive production from Mbamalu, the Ragin’ Cajuns benefited from converting on their final 11 free throw attempts of the game.

“I thought that was important for us,” third-year head coach Bob Marlin said.  “We are a much better free throw shooting team this year and even though we missed some free throws early in the game, we had the confidence to step to the line and put away the win.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns are currently shooting 69.6% from the charity stripe, which is a large improvement from last season when they finished near the bottom of the league.

Free throws have been the lifeline this season, and in the squad’s 63-30 loss to Michigan State they missed almost half their attempts.

Freshman guard Josh Soto is arguably the team’s best shooter and is hitting 47.1% of his three-point shots. After not playing in the first few games of the season, the Puerto Rican native and Florida Air Academy graduate is averaging 8.3 points over the past three contests.

“Josh is starting to find his stroke.  He was a little bit rusty when he first started playing, but he has picked things up offensively over the last three or four games.  That is a great sign,” Marlin said.

In addition to Mbamalu and Soto, guard Elfrid Payton (16.3 ppg) and forward Shawn Long (13.7 ppg) provide scoring options.

In the first 14 games of the season, Marlin has used five different starting lineups while the bench has played an essential role. On five separate occasions the reserves have score 20 points or more, and the Ragin’ Cajuns are 4-1 in those games. In the victory over Arkansas-Little Rock the bench combined for 28 points.

Louisiana-Lafayette is 1-7 on the road this season.


FAU at a Glance:

Florida Atlantic got their second comeback win of the season by taking down Hofstra 61-57 at home on Tuesday afternoon.

Having trailed for almost the entire first half, the Owls open the second period of play on an 11-2 run and never looked back. The Pride were however able to tie things up with just over a minute remaining in the game, but two clutch free throws from Cavon Baker and Richard Morrow secured the victory.

“We just make things so much more difficult,” head coach Mike Jarvis said. “But we won and hopefully I think this can be the beginning of something.”

The win moved the team to 7-8 (2-2) on the season, but more importantly opened the new year with a fresh start for the program. Having lost four of the past five games heading into Tuesday’s bout, grinding out a non-conference win was an important step in the development of the squad.

Freshman guard Stefan Moody – who was held scoreless in his first-career game earlier in the week against ULM – responded with 16 points and seven rebounds in his first start in over a month.

Greg Gantt poured in his sixth consecutive 20-point game with a 24 point effort, but it was the team’s ability to limit the number of turnovers which became the prevailing factor. The Owls finished with just 9 turnovers – their lowest mark in ten games.

“We had 20 turnovers our last game (against ULM) – we cut that in half and we win by double figures. That’s what’s been killing us all year. Tonight we had a couple that we shouldn’t have, but it was much better. Anytime you’re under ten turnovers you have a pretty good chance of winning,” Jarvis said.

FAU has been averaging 16 turnovers a game this season which ranks as the second most in the Sun Belt Conference.

Forward Jordan McCoy had his second productive game in a row, scoring 8 points while pulling in a team-high eight boards. The senior leads the squad in rebounds this season and is averaging 5.9 a contest. Against Hofstra he was able to snag four offensive boards which in turn kept multiple possessions alive.

“He really played big tonight, he rebounded the ball strong,” Jarvis said. “Now he’s making free throws, which helps. He’s made six out of his last seven and didn’t have any fatal turnovers tonight. We need Jordan to play well, especially on a night when Kelvin Penn got in foul trouble early.”

McCoy and Penn will both need to have good defensive games on Thursday, as the Ragin’ Cajuns like to utilize their big men under the basket.

Penn has been a force over the last six games in the lane, and has managed an impressive four or more blocks in all but one contest in that span. Against Hofstra he recorded four blocks, and constantly forced opposing players to alter their shots.  Penn currently ranks first in the conference with 38 blocks, which is also good enough to place him 11th nationally.

Latest Line:

FAU -2


Owl's Nest Prediction

The Owls haven’t won back-to-back games since the beginning of December, but Thursday night should provide a great opportunity to garner a win.

Louisiana-Lafayette is a young team that has multiple players that can score but struggles away from home. Limiting Bryant Mbamalu will be the key and thankfully for FAU they have a capable defender in Kelvin Penn who’s been playing well lately. However, if Penn gets in early foul trouble that could cause some issues defensively.

Greg Gantt will need to have another big performance and Stefan Moody will have to get involved if the team wants to win.

Despite their poor record on the road, the Ragin’ Cajuns appear to be in better form at this point in the season.

UL -2

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: Game Preview: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

Just got to the Burrow, looks like the Owls will be wearing the grey unis again.

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: Game Preview: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

According to team officials…

Guard Richard Morrow will not play tonight because of concussion like symptoms.

Freshman forward Devonte Thornton has also left the team for personal reasons, no time-table has been given regarding his return.

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: Game Preview: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

Tonight's starters:

FAU
G- Stefan Moody
G- Greg Gantt
G- Pablo Bertone
F- Jordan McCoy
F- Kelvin Penn

Louisiana
G-Elfrid Payton
G- Steven Wronkoski
F- Shawn Long
F- Elridge Moore
F- Bryant Mbamalu

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: GAME THREAD: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

What happened to our cool intros? Like? when we turned the lights off and showed a cool video?

Also, are we the two shortest teams in the league? They look like high schoolers out there, lol
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Re: GAME THREAD: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

Bertone with an early three.

3-2

17:36

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: GAME THREAD: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

FAUfasho said

Also, are we the two shortest teams in the league? They look like high schoolers out there, lol

Shawn Long (#21) is listed as 6'9" for the Ragin' Cajuns. He looks 7'2" out there.

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: GAME THREAD: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

Moody with a three from NBA range.

Cajuns lead 7-6.

14:16

Gantt hasn't touched the ball once on offense.

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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Re: GAME THREAD: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

What's the over/under on how many dunks Dragan misses tonight?
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Re: GAME THREAD: Louisiana-Lafayette vs FAU - 01/03/13 @ 7:00 PM

Cavon Baker with a nice steal at mid-court and draws the foul on the other end.

He's a nice spark.

Twitter: @andrewrivins
Email: [email protected]
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