GAME THREAD: Tulsa vs FAU - 02/20/14 @ 7:00 PM
What: Tulsa (13-12, 8-3 C-USA) vs FAU (10-16, 5-6 C-USA)
When: Thursday, February 20th @ 7:00 PM
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: Here *FEE
Radio: ESPN 106.3
Live Stats: Here
Golden Hurricanes Team Site: Here
G Tim Peete 5.0 ppg
G James Woodard 14.7 ppg
G Shaquille Harrison 9.7 ppg
F Rashad Smith 12.4 ppg
F D’Andre Wright 7.6 ppg
G Marquan Botley 10.5 ppg
G Jackson Trapp 9.6 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 18.7 ppg
F Kelvin Penn 4.4 ppg
C Justin Raffington 9.4 ppg
Tulsa at a Glance:
The Tulsa Golden Hurricanes are making a stop in Boca Raton, after a 39-point home domination of Old Dominion.
The Golden Hurricanes are heading into Thursday’s contest on a three game winning streak. Although the team’s record is sitting just above .500, Tulsa’s conference play is nothing to look over, and the Golden Hurricane’s have built up some serious momentum going into the final stretch of the season.
Tulsa’s success is even more impressive considering that four out of five starters are sophomores.
Tulsa’s lead man is guard James Woodard. The sophomore made the Conference USA All-Freshman team, and hasn’t missed a beat in his 2nd year as a Golden Hurricane. Woodard holds the most points (14.7), rebounds (6.2), and assists (2.0) per game as well as being the teams biggest threat behind the arc. Woodard comes from a basketball family, his younger brother Jordan plays for the University of Oklahoma; he also has an older cousin who had a stint with the Indiana Pacers.
Aiding Woodard’s efforts is Forward Rashad Smith. Tulsa’s threat in the paint, can score just about anytime he wants to. Smith’s .542 field goal percentage lands him in the top 10 in the conference. Though Smith is not afraid to be aggressive, the forward grabs 5.1 rebounds per game and has a block in almost every contest.
Another underclassman making a name for himself on this Golden Hurricane roster is guard Shaquille Harrison. Standing at 6’3” Harrison is a prototypical guard with a knack for stealing the ball. Stealing 1.64 balls per game has knocked him at no. 7 in C-USA. Though Harrison is not a stranger to the top ten, his 3.6 assists per game has him with the ninth most assist in the conference.
Tulsa’s big man D’Andre Wright hasn’t found his rhythm this season. As a freshman Wright was averaging a point more per game and almost two more rebounds per game. The sophomore’s field goal percentage has also taken a dive from being above .500 to .385.
Tulsa’s squad is led by former number one NBA draft pick Danny Manning, who holds a 29-28 record in two seasons with the Golden Hurricanes. Manning has put together a solid group of athletes to lead his team for the next few years, and has the potential to make a tournament run which is something Tulsa is not a unfamiliar with. The program has 15 tournament appearances, with the last appearance being in 2003.
Tulsa started out the season 1-6, but has crawled back going 9-3 since the start of the New Year. They grabbed impressive wins against Southern Miss (75-71) and MTSU (58-53).
FAU at a Glance:
The Owls return to the Burrow, after a semi-successful weekend in Texas. The day after putting a beating on UTEP, and capping the win off with a buzzer beating three, the squad dropped a ten-point loss to 8-16 UTSA.
Although guard Pablo Bertone hasn’t dropped any production in recent weeks. Bertone hasn’t had a single-digit game since January 1st, when Louisiana Tech held him to no points in the first half. Bertone’s 18.7 ppg leads all the Conference USA.
“Pablo has just been Mr. Consistency,” said head coach Mike Jarvis. “Even on a bad night he is picking up 18-20 points for you, he is the leading scorer in the league, and he has played great.”
Guard Marquan Botley had himself quite an outing in his return to his home state of Texas. Botley combined for 35 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in the two contests. The freshman’ increased production has made him the teams second leading scorer with 10.5 ppg.
True freshman Grant Pelchen had a nice outing against UTSA. Picking up six boards and five points in his 20 minutes. The freshman has seen an increase in minutes since the injury of Dragan Sekelja, and has been primarily used to rest Justin Raffington and forward Kelvin Penn.
“He is doing well for a freshman, I would have loved to redshirt, but we couldn’t afford to not play the extra man, and now he is in a position to play and he is doing a good job,” stated Jarvis.
Center Justin Raffington has slowed down on the offensive side of the ball, with the exception of his 19-point outing against Marshall, Raffington has not scored in double-digits since January 30th. The junior’s defense has not missed a step; with a team leading nine boards a game, has also given him the 3rd most rebounds per game. Raffington has racked up 233 boards in the 2014 season, which is the most in the conference.
Many coaches would put game readiness and an extra practice over the player’s academics, but Coach Jarvis is putting his team’s academics above all, despite the season drawing close to the C-USA tournament. Jarvis has moved team practices to the afternoon to not allow travel to interfere with classes.
“I wanted to get as many morning classes in for the guys as I could,” stated Jarvis. “I have seven or eight players on the deans list, and an Academic All-American in Justin [Raffington], and sometimes we travel to a place like Texas, and it takes all day. I just want to make sure my guys have a strong spring semester, because it is always the hardest.”
The Owls finish out the season with four home games, which seem to be the squad’s strong suit. Seven of FAU’s ten wins have been in the Burrow and the team has only four losses at home.
A strong home finish would put the Owls in good position to do some damage in the C-USA tournament in El Paso come March.
Owl's Nest Prediction
The Owls are playing good basketball recently, with the exception of the UTSA game, and the offense has picked up the much needed production, but per usual the inconsistent play makes it hard to favor the Owls. Tulsa's not a great shooting or defensive team, but they have momentum on their side, and sometimes that is all you need. We think it will be close but the Owls won't come out on top.
352Owl saidHoping to firing on all cylinders tonight.Posted On: Feb 20th 2014, 5:37 PM
We'll need it with the momentum Tulsa is bringing.
G Tim Peete
G James Woodard
G Shaquille Harrison
F Rashad Smith
F D’Andre Wright
G Marquan Botley
G Jackson Trapp
G Pablo Bertone
F Kelvin Penn
C Justin Raffington
I haven't seen him in anything besides the track suit since Harvard.
Some possible playing time for Dragan this week?
We will see.
But Pablo answers right back!!
FAU 3 Tulsa 3
Not much breathing room for our boys.
Don't hear that combination of words very often..