GAME THREAD: Middle Tennessee vs FAU - 02/06/14 @ 7:00 PM
What: Middle Tennessee (14-7, 7-2 C-USA) vs FAU (8-14, 3-4 C-USA)
When: Thursday, February 6th @ 7:00 PM
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: Here *FEE
Radio: ESPN 106.3
Live Stats: Here
MTSU Team Site: Here
G Tweety Knight 8.1 ppg
G Kerry Hammonds 12.4 ppg
F Neiko Hunter 12.4 ppg
F Shawn Jones 14.4 ppg
F Reggie Upshaw 7.2 ppg
G Marquan Botley 9.5 ppg
G Jackson Trapp 9.9 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 18.3 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 4.3 ppg
C Justin Raffington 10.0 ppg
This is the 15th meeting between the Blue Raiders and the Owls. MTSU has a commanding 5-1 record in Boca Raton.
FAU lost the last meeting 73-56 at home, while being outshot in all shooting percentages. Current players Pablo Bertone, Rich Morrow, Jackson Trapp, and Kelvin Penn accounted for 21 of the Owls' points.
Blue Raiders at a Glance:
The Blue Raiders travel to Boca Raton fresh off the heels of a 16-point routing of Old Dominion. Middle Tennessee is showing promise towards a Conference USA Tournament run after starting out 5-2 in conference play.
The Blue Raiders are averaging 38.0 rebounds a game, and leading the way in both scoring and grabs is South Florida native Shawn Jones (14.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg). Jones is also strikingly accurate in shooting at 59.6% from the field, though he does not have an appetite for the long ball with zero attempts for the season.
Assisting Jones is Neiko Hunter and G Kerry Hammonds II. The pair compliment each other, and nearly match each other's stats in every category. Hunter and Hammonds II work the 3-point line for the Blue Raiders, although Hammonds II takes the edge shooting 37.7% 3PT.
The team’s backcourt is ruled by senior guard Tweety Knight, and he does it well. Knight averages the most assists per game with 4.6 per outing. He also displays the knack for takeaways with 2.2 a game.
With four of the five starters being letter-winning seniors, the Blue Raiders are an experienced unit. The only youth in the starting line up is 6’7” Reggie Upshaw Jr., who has found a niche in the line up by doing a little bit of everything, and completing a well balanced MTSU team.
With the predominant unit being a part of last years Sun Belt Championship team, this squad not only knows how to play, but how to play together.
One of MTSU’s best qualities this far in 2013-14 is the ability to limit unpredictable loss. The Blue Raiders have only dropped contetsts to mainly quality opponents, such as Florida (79-59), Ole Miss (73-62), and Cincinnati (69-48).
FAU at a Glance:
The Owls are taking on the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee Thursday night after upsetting Marshall 65-57 last weekend.
The team was given another stellar performance by Pablo Bertone, who is now just 15 points away from 1000 career points. Head Coach Mike Jarvis had this to say of of his senior guard.
“I proud of Pablo. He has worked hard over the years, we have gone through many guys who don’t stick through it and we wonder what they could have done, but Pablo did it and it is quite a success", said Jarvis.
The Owls saw another incredible outing by center Justin Raffington, who has also set himself up for something coach Jarvis said he has never had before. Raffington is in the works to be coach’s first Academic All-American, and Jarvis couldn't be more excited.
“I have coached some good players for a long time, and I have never had a guy achieve Academic All-American. To think that Justin is in the final 20 players of the 300+ division 1 basketball teams is incredible to me,” said Jarvis.
On the subject of FAU’s front court, the Owls were without senior Dragan Sekelja again last week as the FAU big man continues to experience troubles with back pain. Jarvis said it is just about getting him comfortable with the game again, and adjusting to the discomfort, but also affirmed that he will not play on either Thursday or Saturday.
In his absence against the Herd on Saturday, FAU fans experienced a Grant Pelchen sighting, and the freshman didn't disappoint. Pelchen posted five points, four grabs, an assist, a block, and a steal in just nine minutes of action. We are excited to see what else he does in the next stretch of home games.
FAU is entering the final nine games of the season, with six of those being at home. The Owls are obviously looking to finish strong to establish seeding for the Conference USA tournament.
Owl's Nest Prediction
The Owls continue to surprise us week in and week out with mixed results. Despite above average play against a good Marshall team, they have yet to produce certainty as to how they are going to perform. Conversely, the Blue Raiders are guaranteed to bring intensity on both sides of the ball, and in all likelihood, consistent play with it.
The line opened at -2 for MTSU, and that was a mark which betters quickly took advantage of.
G Tweety Knight
G Kerry Hammonds
F Neiko Hunter
F Shawn Jones
F Reggie Upshaw
G Marquan Botley
G Jackson Trapp
G Pablo Bertone
F Kelvin Penn
C Justin Raffington
Looks like no action from either tonight.
MTSU take control early and turn it into quick points.
FAU 2 MTSU 4
We will need him.
D'Andre Johnson checks in.