GAME THREAD: North Texas vs FAU - 01/19/13 @ 7:00 PM
GAME THREAD: North Texas vs FAU - 01/19/13 @ 7:00 PM
What: North Texas (7-12, 2-6 SBC) vs FAU (10-9, 5-3 SBC)
When: Saturday, Jan. 19th @ 7:00 PM
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: None
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
Mean Green Team Site:
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G P.J Harwick 3.2 ppg
G Jordan Williams 11.2 ppg
G Alzee Williams 10.7 ppg
F Tony Mitchell 13.8 ppg
F Roger Franklin 10.1 ppg
G Greg Gantt 22.5 ppg
G Stefan Moody 14.4 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 8.9 ppg
F Jordan McCoy 5.4 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 1.4 ppg
The Owls trail 3-5 all-time against UNT, but have won the last 2-of-3, including last's season lone meeting which resulted in a 86-81 triumph in 2OT at FAU Arena.
Florida Atlantic trailed by 10 points at the break but charged back in the second half to notch the score. With the first overtime resulting in seven points for each team, the Owls got a big three from Shavar Richardson with 1:00 remaining in the second, effectively establishing the momentum needed to put put the game away.
Kore White and Ray Taylor sank a game best 23 points each, with White adding nine boards. Tony Mitchell put up the contest's best overall performance with 22 points and a staggering 20 rebounds for North Texas.
North Texas at a Glance:
Friday the 13th, April, 2012, was a day to be remembered for Mean Green fans, as former head man Johnny Jones departed his digs in Denton to take over at LSU. The move reunited Jones with his alma mater, but also ended an 11 year stint at UNT, which was highlighted by five 20 win seasons and two trips to The Big Dance. This is quite a feat considering the fact that the team has been playing since 1916 and has had only nine seasons with 20 victories or more and a total of just three post season bids.
So far in 2012-13, the preseason Sun Belt favorite to win it all according to the coaches (11 unanimous votes) is struggling, reporting a 7-12 overall, and 2-6 conference showing. The primary culprit in this happening is a rash of injuries which have factored against the squad.
Of note, Chris Jones' going down in December with a broken foot prompted the insertion of freshman P.J. Hardwick into a starting role at point point guard. He's adapted quickly as the floor general, as shown in a definitive increase in assists since then. With only 19 dishes for the first 14 games, the newcomer now stands with 22 assists during his last five outings on the floor.
Making matters worse, North Texas also lost SG Brandan Walton for the season to a broken foot as well.
Just 18 games into the season, injuries had resulted in 30 individual games missed in 2012-13. North Texas fielded just seven scholarship players in their 53-67 loss against UALR last week.
On Thursday night the Mean Green dropped a 64-70 decision at Florida International in Miami - their first of two games in the Sunshine State this week. Six players saw the balance of the time on the floor, with an additional three picking up an average of just four minutes each.
Accordingly, the Panthers focused on likely NBA lottery pick, and Preseason SBC Player of the Year, sophomore forward Tony Mitchell. They were able able to hold him scoreless despite entering the game with a 14.6 ppg average. He was however able to swat away four attempts, and took over the school record of 121 in the process.
Fellow forward Roger Franklin picked up the slack left behind in Mitchell's absence, netting a career-high 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting.
Presenting a mark of just 25.7% on the year from beyond the arc, UNT is not going to beat anyone with distance. Complicating matters, they are not proficient at keeping others from doing so either (37.6% 11th SBC).
But they do make up for it inside, enjoying league rankings of 3rd and 4th in defensive (24.4 pg) and offensive (13.4) rebounding respectively.
FAU at a Glance:
The Owls will be looking to go two games above the .500 mark for the first time since the 2010-11 season. Should they make it happen, Greg Gantt, Jordan McCoy and Andre Mattison will become the winningest FAU senior class since the program's official move to Division I back in 1993.
With a good effort, McCoy could also move into sixth place all time in total rebounds. The deceptively quick forward currently sits at 476 grabs for his career, and just seven behind surpassing Cedric Peoples (482, 1993-96). And he's not that far off pace to take 2nd all time in offensive grabs, needing just 34 more to notch 2nd which is currently held by Brett Royster (236, 2007-11).
To the enjoyment of onlookers, Florida Atlantic made easy work of the Trojans on Thursday night, romping to their 2nd most lopsided win on the year in a 80-59 drubbing. It seemed as if they could do no wrong at times.
In the process, solid gains were made in assist to turnover ratio to the tune of a 4.4:1 mark. For the record, the season average heading into the contest was a concerning 0.58:1.
“What we’re trying to do is be more patient, we’re not rushing”, explained Coach Mike Jarvis. “They’re finally starting to realize that if they're patient and run the stuff, everybody’s working, and you’ll get great shots.”
But ball handling isn't the only trend to see some noteworthy upswing. For the last two games, the Owls have shot an a more than respectable average of 44.8% (19-of-41) from downtown. Coach Jarvis attributes that shift to focused shot selection during the last few weeks of practice, a strategy resembling the baseball exercise of "pepper".
“Within the offense we will take threes, but we set up in the offense and work on our technique and form from about 15 feet", Jarvis said. "I think that’s what the difference is.”
FAU stands at 2-4 against the Mean Green under Jarvis, with contests having been decided by an average margin of 11.3 points.
They are 8-2 on the year when enjoying a halftime edge, and have played well thus far in Boca Raton with a 6-2 overall mark at The Burrow.
Owl's Nest Prediction
The Vegas and Boca Raton stars align in agreement on a four point game. The Mean Green are slightly better offensively, and the Owls take the defensive side. In fact, with a dead even swap. Despite last night's effort against FIU, Mitchell will get his points.
Two deciding factors for an FAU win will likely include the ability to contain the offensive rebounding ability of UNT, and a solid showing at the charity stripe when things get physical.
But the main question to beg is whether or not the Owls' recent progress made in ball control will continue. Should that happen, they will be in the driver's seat at the final horn.
Re: GAME THREAD: North Texas vs FAU - 01/19/13 @ 7:00 PM
Of note as we await the tip:
LA Clipper Scout is on hand, International Division.
My guess is Mitchell, although the international angle could add Gantt into the mix if they have a farm relationship with a team.
G Rich Morrow is dressed and participating in warm-ups with the team.
F Kelvin Penn is stitched up over the left eye, but OK after his mishap the other night against Troy.