What: Troy (8-18, 6-8) vs FAU (19-9, 11-3)
When: Thursday, Feb. 24th @ 7:00 PM EST
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: None
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Owls GameTracker
Troy Team Site: Here
Troy Check starters
G Will Weathers 12.5 ppg
G Vernon Taylor 15.5 ppg
G Travis Lee 7.6 ppg
G Steven Cunningham 4.2 ppg
C Bernard Toombs 9.8 ppg
FAU Check starters
G Ray Taylor 11.7 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.2 ppg
G Alex Tucker 7.6 ppg
F Jordan McCoy 5.7 ppg
F Brett Royster 8.0 ppg
Florida Atlantic is still playing catch-up against Troy all-time with a 9-17 mark, but moved one step closer earlier in the season with an 82-77 victory. Ray Taylor dropped a season high 24 points (DI opponents), which still stands, on a 6-of-12 performance from long range.
The Owls improved to 5-4 versus the Trojans over the last for years, and are 3-1 at FAU Arena heading into Thursday’s matchup.
Troy at a Glance
The Trojans will conclude the 2010-11 regular season with back-to-back road games in the Sunshine State.
Last Saturday, Troy saw its three game win streak come to an end in a 71-63 loss to Arkansas State on senior night at Trojan Arena. The Red Wolves were all over the glass to the tune of 49-25, while snapping a five game skid against the home team.
“The fact that they were doing that well on the boards was a sign of how much effort they were putting in trying to score, even after they missed a shot” said Troy head coach Don Maestri. “We really struggled the whole game. I thought we looked a little tired at times. We just didn’t play good basketball, and we’re not talented enough to not play well.”
Front court play also suffered as center Bernard Toombs (9.8 ppg) was held scoreless in 26 minutes of action, posting just two field goal attempts. His partner, forward Levan Patsatisa, has also seen his production drop off in recent contest. Last time the Owls played the Trojans, Patsatisa had the hot hand racking up a team-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, but since mid-January the senior has only reached double-digit scoring figures once.
At guard, the man to watch is senior ball-handler Vernon Taylor. Ranking third in the conference, scoring 15.5 point per game, Taylor has been the go-factor to the Trojans offense and has helped the team average 72.0 points per contest.
As a whole, the squad isn’t afraid to shoot the ball from behind the arch, connecting on a conference-high 8.9 three-pointers per game.
The Trojans are 2-4 on the road in Sun Belt Conference play, winning their last two away from home.
FAU at a Glance
Brett Royster and Justin Davis will be the lone members of the FAU roster to be honored as outgoing seniors on Thursday.
Royster has had quite the career defensively for the Owls, and is still tallying marks as the regular season winds down. The big man is tied for the all-time single season blocks record of 90 set during 2009-10 with five swats against FIU last Saturday in Miami. That mark will likely fall against the Trojans.
His career total currently stands at 294, also a program best.
Davis on the other hand, has had quit the basketball journey. Transferring to FAU after a brief one-year stint at Mercer University, where he earned All-American honors, the center saw action in thirty-five games for the Owls during his career.
A win against the Trojans on senior night will not only clinch the school’s first Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Title for the Owls, but it would also mark the first time ever the program reached 20 wins at the Division 1 level.
The regular season title for the squad would also secure a spot in the postseason NIT tournament. Despite all that’s on the line when the Owls take the court, Jarvis and the players understand that they can’t overlook the fast paced Trojans, who took them to overtime earlier this season.
“They’re a tough matchup. They run a pass and kind of weave offense and they are always hunting for threes. And then they will play a zone and get you to shoot, and if you’re not shooting well, it could be a long night,” Jarvis said.
FAU is 9-3 at home this season, losing two of their past three contests in the Burrow. The program hasn’t won ten or games on their home court since the 2007-2008 campaign.
Owl’s Nest Prediction
One thing is for sure: The Trojans will look to run, and run some more, with little defense at times. That makes for an exciting game with lots of offense. And an opportunity for FAU, who is 6-0 when dropping 80+ points.
Troy has improved since the earlier meeting this season, as evidenced by a 7-10 showing after a 1-8 start.
However, the Owls should pick up their third regular season sweep in the east on Thursday night.