On The Road Again
What: Florida Atlantic (5-4, 0-0) vs Hofstra (5-3, 0-0)
When: Saturday, Dec. 11th @ 4:00 PM EST
Where: Mack Sports Complex
Live Video: Hofstra Pay Per View
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
Hofstra Team Site: Here
G Alex Tucker 10.6 ppg
G Dennis Mavin 9.0 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.6 ppg
F Kore White 10.9 ppg
F Brett Royster 7.0 ppg
G Dwan McMillan 7.4 ppg
G Charles Jenkins 24.5 ppg
G Mike Moore 13.8 ppg
F David Imes 7.6 ppg
F Greg Washington 4.9 ppg
Saturday’s meeting marks the sixth time the two squads have faced off, with the Owls still winless (0-5).
Last year, on the front end of the home-and-home series, Florida Atlantic failed to take advantage of opportunities at the charity stripe in a 67-63 loss at FAU Arena. Ray Taylor and Greg Gantt struggled from the floor, finishing a combined 5-of-24, while Brett Royster boasted 13 rebounds and swatted four shots.
FAU at a Glance
After knocking off USF for the first time in program history, and back-to-back wins against members of the “Big Six”, the Owls will hit the road for a five game stint – their longest of the year. The team left on Friday afternoon, and won’t return until December 23rd, just in time for Christmas.
“We’re calling it the NBA road trip, only problem is we don’t have the private jet waiting for us, and we’re not staying at the Ritz”, said coach Mike Jarvis. “I’d rather go on the road one time like we’re doing that maybe two or three separate times.”
But it won’t be the first time they have traveled an extended period, having spent 11 days overseas during the summer in Europe. Something Jarvis said will help.
“I’m not as nervous about this trip as I normally would be because we’ve already had a trip like this”, said Jarvis. “We don’t have any exams, we’ll be able to move from one to another, and sort of settle in.”
On Saturday, the Owls will need to pay careful attention to what many consider an NBA prospect in Charles Jenkins (more to come on him below). But they will also look to stop other members from stepping up.
“You’ve got to try to be concerned about their star, but not let other people get off…and have a great night against you”, Jarvis said.
Junior guard Alex Tucker, who was 3-of-7 at the line in last season’s contest against Hofstra, went on to finish at 67.6% (63-of-93) for the year. But he’s made major strides in 2010-11, connecting on 38-of-42 tries for a team leading 90.5%. It will likely be needed, as the team made 37 trips to the stripe in the last showdown.
“Alex has been playing excellent basketball”, commented Jarvis. “We’re going to be in a lot of close games, so his ability to make free throws really, really helps us.”
Hofstra at a Glance
The Pride enters Saturday’s contest in the midst of a four game winning streak (Wagner, Rider, Towson, and Binghamton) after trailing at half time in three of them.
Hofstra needed overtime to knock off a struggling Bearcat (1-6) squad on Wednesday. Not to fear though, as always reliable Charles Jenkins, the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year for 2009-10, scored a career high 40 points (14-of-22) en route to the win.
“We tried to put the ball in Charles’ hands,” said head coach Mo Cassara. “That’s what senior captain All-American type kids do, they make plays down the stretch.”
Former head man Tom Pecora stepped down after last season to lead Fordham, prompting first year assistant Cassara to suddenly find himself in the drivers seat in May, 2010. Cassara was initially hired by replacement Tim Welsh (Providence 98′-08′), but Welsh resigned after just a month on the job due to a DWI incident. The University chose to promote Cassara rather than undergo another search.
Primarily guard oriented on offense, the starting trio of Jenkins (currently 7th in 2010 NCAA scoring), McMillan, and Moore account for 56% of the Pride’s attempts on the season.
Sun Belt member Western Kentucky escaped with a 62-60 win over Hofstra in the Honda Puerto Rico Tip-Off back on November 19th, despite being down by 14 points with just 5:18 to play.
Owl’s Nest Prediction
The formula for a win seems simple enough: control Jenkins. Not an easy feat though, as the all around guard has been in double figures 98 times in his 104 games as a member of the Pride. He dropped 17 on FAU last season despite riding the pine in foul trouble most of the second half (10:42).
On paper, the Owls are +3.5 dogs at the hand of home court advantage the Pride’s way. However, got to like FAU’s team effort over that of a more centric strategy by Hofstra. Accordingly, the Owls’ bench outperforms at 17.7 to 13.5 ppg.
White and Royster should have solid games Saturday against the opposing front court, but Florida Atlantic needs to improve from long range to make matters easier. Last year was a struggle (20%), and that was at home.
Taking the “road warriors” in this one.