One for the Road
What: Florida Atlantic (20-9, 12-3) vs South Alabama (12-14, 6-9)
When: Sunday, Feb. 27th @ 5:00 PM EST
Where: Mitchell Center
Live Video: USA Pay Per View
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
USA Team Site: Here
G Ray Taylor 11.7 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.0 ppg
G Shavar Richardson 5.8 ppg
F Justin Davis 0.1 ppg
F Brett Royster 8.1 ppg
G Gary Redus 8.6 ppg
G Allyn Cooks 8.7 ppg
F Martino Brock 14.3 ppg
F Javier Carter 5.0 ppg
C Augustine Rubit 13.0 ppg
USA holds a 3-7 advantage over the Owls all-time. Florida Atlantic won the earlier season meeting 65-57 at FAU Arena. Brett Royster dropped 14 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and added four blocks.
FAU at a Glance
Florida Atlantic is reeling off its 20th win and first Sun Belt Regular season championship. The Owls needed OT to drop Troy earlier in the year at Trojan Arena, but not on Thursday. In a game that was never really close, FAU put up some serious defensive pressure with 10 takeaways; setting the tone for a 77-60 win, despite being out rebounded for the fourth consecutive contest.
Four Owls were in double figures as FAU tossed a respectable 39.1% from long range – their best outing in eight games (UALR 1/22/11).
The team is now guaranteed an NIT post-season bid at worst case scenario. However, The Big Dance is obviously the goal at hand. This is something Jarvis has been steadfast on getting to since his arrival at FAU.
“We’re going to be playing in the dance. I don’t know when. I’m not making those promises. But I am promising you that before very long, we’re going to be having a party here.” said Jarvis at the press conference announcing his hire on May 27th of 2008.
Regardless of the outcome on Sunday the Owls will enjoy a first round bye in Hot Springs, the site of the Conference Tournament. But building on their two game win streak is important.
“You want to go into the Sun Belt tournament playing well and winning. We’re going to go to South Alabama with one idea in mind and that is to win number twenty-one”, Jarvis said. “And we’ve got eleven guys that can play.”
Senior Justin Davis and junior guard Shavar Richardson, who saw their first starts on Thursday, should both get the nod against the Jaguars on Sunday as well.
FAU is now 14-1 on the year when holding opponents to 23 or fewer field goals made.
USA at a Glance
South Alabama picked up it’s second straight win on Thursday night, slamming the spread in a decisive 92-79 romp over visiting UALR at the Mitchell center. USA shot an impressive 55.0% from the floor and out rebounded the Trojans 45-32 overall, with a +14 advantage on the defensive glass.
Also of note, seven out of eight participating players were in double figures for the home team.
“Our guys played with energy, and the last three games we’ve played with that amount of energy”, said USA Coach Ronnie Arrow. “We made things happen and we got a lot of transition buckets.”
They have done this without the services of Rico Pickett, who will miss the rest of the season due to a torn ACL, as announced by Arrow last Wednesday.
RS Freshman center Augustine Rubit, who continues to improve, has lead the Jaguars in boards 21-of-26 games this season. His 11.1 rpg is tops in the Sun Belt, and will be a factor for the Owls to try and neutralize.
USA is currently tied with the Owls in blocks per game at 5.2 per contest.
Outgoing Jaguars Matt Cline, Gary Redus, and Tim Williams will be recognized in senior day activities prior to tip-off on Sunday.
Owl’s Nest Prediction
Both squads are enjoying successful late season results, and would like nothing better than to end it with a win.
Head to head on paper, the Owls enjoy a slim 1.1 point margin. Accordingly, they could use a fast start from the floor to help neutralize home court advantage and create separation.
Unless that happens, this game could be very close until the final few minutes when the Jaguars’ lack of a bench starts to play its hand upon some tired starters.