A Break from the Cold
What: Manhattan (2-13, 0-5) vs FAU (11-6, 4-0)
When: Tuesday, Jan. 11th @ 7:00 PM EST
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: None
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Owls GameTracker
Manhattan Team Site: Here
G Kidani Brutus 9.5 ppg
G Mohamed Koita 2.5 ppg
G George Beamon 15.5 ppg
F Demetrius Jemison 10.8 ppg
F Rhamel Brown 7.2 ppg
G Ray Taylor 10.5 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.9 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 2.5 ppg
F Kore White 9.1 ppg
F Brett Royster 7.9 ppg
Tuesday's contest marks the second meeting between the programs. In last season's inaugural affair, FAU was outshot 73-66 at Draddy Gymnasium.
Manhattan at a Glance
Having dropped their last 13 contests in a row, it shouldn't be any surprise that the Jaspers are a struggling bunch this season. That is bound to happen when you lose 79.0% of your scoring due to roster departures (Rico Pickett 17.7 ppg, Darryl Crawford 14.8 ppg, Antoine Pearson, 7.9 ppg, Brandon Adams 7.0 ppg, and Patrick Bouli 4.4 ppg).
Fittingly, Manhattan was tabbed to finish ninth in the 2010 MAAC Preseason Coaches’ poll. But the lack of a full roster has also played a part in the squad's win differential when compared to last season's mark at this point in time (7-8, 2-3). However, that changed a month ago.
Since receiving clearance from the NCAA on December 10th, 6'8", 240lb Alabama transfer Demetrius Jemison has averaged double digits in scoring and a very respectable 7.3 rpg. Additionally, sophomore guard Mohamed Koita (3.9 ppg 2009-10), and junior forward Miami Dade College transfer Robert Martina (knee) became available after missing 11, and three games respectively.
It hasn't improved results in the win column though.
Last Sunday the Jaspers pulled to within a single score on two separate occasions against Marist, but had trouble connecting from long range (23.8%) to get over the hump, and fell 65-59 at home. Jemison scored a season high 18 points in the defeat, while George Beamon added the same.
Manhattan get's its nickname from Brother Jasper of Mary, F.S.C., who brought baseball to the College in the late 19th century and is a claimant towards the institution of the "seventh inning stretch" in the sport at large.
The Jaspers are 1-11 on the year when trailing at the half, and rank 321st in scoring amongst NCAA DI members.
FAU at a Glance
Florida Atlantic is enjoying a much welcomed break out season in 2010-11. The current mark of 11-6 is the best overall start since way back in 1989-90 during the program's second year on the court when they went 15-2 at the same point in time.
Additionally, a 4-0 start in Sun Belt play ties the best conference start ever, matching 1996-97's 4-0 TAAC (now Atlantic Sun) mark against Centenary, SE Louisiana, Mercer, and GA State.
However not wanting it to be a distraction, Coach Mike Jarvis has the team focused on the current ask at hand; which is being ready to compete Tuesday and not look past what appears to be another easy win.
"We better get on them early, and hopefully we can keep them down. It's a big advantage to be at home, but you've got to get up. They certainly want to turn their season around as well", said Jarvis.
Last time on the hardwood, the Owls put up a solid defensive performance to stave off a tussling Arkansas State 61-57 at FAU Arena. In the win, Sophomore guard Greg Gantt notched his fourth straight double digit scoring affair, and 14th on the season.
"Greg's a classic example of young man who has been given gift. And the gift is to shoot", Jarvis said.
Rebounding also improved after coming up short against South Alabama (-18). But not where he wants to see it the most given the style of play the Owls encounter.
"Our big men have been doing a good job, it's our guards that have not been rebounding the ball well enough. The way we play, with the teams that shoot so many threes, there are going to be long rebounds. We still are not doing a good job of boxing out the shooter, and that's the guy who is killing us", Jarvis explained.
The Owls are 6-1 at FAU Arena so far, and 6-0 overall when holding the opposition under 39.3% from the floor. The Jaspers are shooting 39.8% on the year.
History should be made on Tuesday, as Brett Royster's career blocks count now stands at 265. Royster needs just two more to surpass Alan Ogg's all-time mark of 266 set at UAB during the 1989-90 season.
Owl's Nest Prediction
Manhattan averages just 16.4 fouls per game, which is refreshing and should help keep the pace in FAU's favor.
The Owls own significant marks in points scored, points allowed and turnovers per game. For the Jaspers, those are big factors to overcome.
A -15 pre-game nod may just be an all-time record for Florida Atlantic against a DI opponent.
But Jarvis may look to tinker with bench minutes and roles a bit if the game takes a large swing in the Owls' favor, so will tap it down notch should that take place.
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