GAME THREAD: Jacksonville vs FAU - 12/07/13 @ 3:00 PM
What: Jacksonville (3-4) vs FAU (2-6)
When: Saturday, December 7th @ 3:00 PM
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: Here *FEE
Radio: ESPN 106.3
Live Stats: Here
Dolphins Team Site: Here
G Jarvis Haywood 15.4 ppg
G Vince Martin 10.4 ppg
F J.R. Holder 5.0 ppg
F Javon Dawson 5.2 ppg
F RJ Slawson 8.6 ppg
G Marquan Botley 5.8 ppg
G Jackson Trapp 10.4 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 18.8 ppg
F Justin Raffington 7.9 ppg
C Dragan Sekelja 7.8 ppg
With a seasoned twenty game series, the Dolphins are familiar opponents for the Owls, but own a 12-8 overall win mark during that time. JU is a former member of the Sun Belt conference, now participating in the A-Sun. FAU is 3-6 against the JU at home.
Jacksonville at a Glance:
Picked to finish fourth in the A-Sun for 2013-14 by league coaches, the Dolphins head to Boca Raton for a quick tilt before cashing in on ten days off for finals.
The squad is coming off a recent 88-75 win over Trinity Baptist in which bench scoring played a key role, as normal starters Jarvis Haywood (52.8% FG, 15.4 ppg) and Javon Dawson (5.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg) were not dressed in what was described as both "minor" and "nagging" injuries before the contest. However they are likely to return against the Owls on Saturday.
JU also set season highs for three-pointers (10) and three-point percentage (43.5 %) in the win. The other two victories on the year came from FAMU (76-72) and Florida College (101-72).
From an overall style of play perspective, while the Dolphins primarily employ a back court attack, they also effectively mix in the front court as well. The team scoring ratio is 53% to 47% in favor of the former.
PG Haywood is a definite threat to take the ball to the rim, and on the wing, SG Vince Martin ranks 19th in A-SUN scoring (10.4), third in assists (4.6), in a second for 3PT % (.500). All this while leading the conference in steals (1.7).
At 6-6 and 260 lb, Dawson presents some size to contend with at the four spot while Grad student RJ Slawson anchors most of the offensive production. Slawson spent three seasons with SEC member South Carolina before transferring to the Sunshine State. A heralded recruit out of high school, he didn't set the world ablaze as a Gamecock, but did notch 13 points and 14 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina back Nov. 25, 2011. Both were career highs. He can get into foul trouble though, with two disqualifications in his seven games played.
The Dolphins have a somewhat lengthy post season resume that boasts five trips to The Big Dance and six showings in the NIT. Most notably, JU reached the Championship Game of the 1970 NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual winner UCLA 80-69.
FAU at a Glance:
With a 1-6 start in place, confidence had taken somewhat of a hit for the Owls. That all changed on Tuesday when a moderately favored UCF squad came to the Burrow. FAU put away the northern neighbor by double digits (75-64), displaying their best outing since a blow out win against Ave Maria to open the season. This was aided by a season high 49.1% field goal percentage.
"It was a good win that came at a perfect time", said Coach Mike Jarvis. "The guys have been playing very competitively."
With the monkey officially off the back, and a quality win now under foot for 2013-14 Jarvis hopes this will spark the process of showing what the team is truly capable of.
"Number one, I knew it and now they hopefully know it. When they do what we want them to do, they can win", Jarvis asserted. "We're going to have a good team, it takes time - while certain guys get more acclimated to college basketball and some guys get more acclimated to the roles their (now) in."
No one really knew how well Pablo Bertone would adjust to the new role he has been placed in. After all, a lot of weight was placed on his shoulders as the first option to replace all-time leading scorer Greg Gantt. Thus far, it has been quite remarkable what he has done - especially when considering the setting of back-to-back career highs during his last two contests. However, it comes as no surprise to Jarvis.
"He's a different type of scorer than Greg, Pablo can not only shoot it, but he can drive it", Jarvis said. "He actually might be more of a dangerous player than Greg was, as good as Greg was."
Bertone is currently 5th in the league in points (18.8 pg), although he is getting little rest while notching the most floor time at just under 34 minutes on average per outing.
To establish winning consistency, Florida Atlantic is going to have to improve post haste in a couple areas of note. First off is to find a way to connect at the stripe. Freshman guard D'Andre Johnson (84.0%, 10th C-USA) is the lone bright spot for a squad posting just a 60.5% showing overall (15th C-USA). Secondly, what has been somewhat of a strong point the last couple of years in that of three point shooting has been cold - 31.0% cold, and deserving of a 14th ranking in the conference.
In opposite fashion, rebounding continues to make strides over recent years, and the duo of Sekelja and Raffington are powering that faction. Both land in the top 12 amongst league players, while Raffington has found a nose for the offensive glass (3.29 pg, 5th C-USA).
Like recent games, the potentially pesky Dolphins won't be a cake walk for FAU. They have some skilled players in the front court, and the propensity to like to run at times.
"They are a dangerous team, and on any given night they can beat you", said Jarvis. They've got athletes and they get up and down the floor. They are going to come after us."
Owl's Nest Prediction
Statistically, the Owls are giving up quite a bit. However, they make up for it in clock control and size in the post. Key match-ups present this as a likely close game all around. An entertaining, although potentially narrow win should be in tap for Saturday.