What: Florida Atlantic (16-7, 8-1) vs North Texas (16-6, 5-4)
When: Thursday, Feb. 3rd @ 8:00 PM EST
Where: Super Pit
Live Video: UNT Pay Per View
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
UNT Team Site: Here
G Ray Taylor 12.1 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.5 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 3.0 ppg
F Kore White 9.3 ppg
F Brett Royster 8.0 ppg
G Josh White 14.4 ppg
G Tristan Thompson 17.8 ppg
G Shannon Shorter 6.2 ppg
F Kedrick Hogans 8.7 ppg
F George Odufuwa 11.4 ppg
North Texas owns a 4-1 advantage over FAU in the all-time series which began during the 2006-07 season. Last time out, the Mean Green racked up 45 first half points en route to an 86-69 win in Denton. Florida Atlantic shot just 15.4% (2-of-13) from three point land for the contest, and was led by Greg Gantt's 18 points.
FAU at a Glance
The Owls saw their eight game win streak come to an end last Saturday, falling to Western Kentucky 57-53 before a season high crowd at FAU Arena. Florida Atlantic tossed up only eight free throws for the night, while connecting on just three of them. This was a season low and likely a key difference in the game in hindsight. Brett Royster posted his third straight double digit performance with 14 points.
However, Royster's front court counterpart Kore White has seen his productivity slip to just six points total in the last two games since posting a career high 22 against UALR back on January 22nd. White has begun to face some double teams with defenses keying in on him, but Coach Mike Jarvis is still confident in his sophomore's ability.
"He is here so he can grow into his potential. It is a process. He is capable of double-double every night. There might be a time when we say he had an off night when he as 12 points and 10 rebounds", said Jarvis.
Now in the final stretch of conference play, FAU will have back to back weeks with Thursday games being on the road, and Saturday games at home. That obviously makes for some inconsistency, but Jarvis feels the team is up for the challenge.
"We have no choice, that is the medicine that has been prescribed for us", Jarvis said. "As tough as that might appear it is not as tough as the December schedule we had, when we were gone for 13 days and played five games."
The Owls have never won at the Super Pit, in a series that heavily favors UNT as the home squad. The Owls lone win was at home.
"Denton's a very difficult place to go and play. I don't think it's so much that we we don't play well there, they just play better than most teams there." "We're pretty good on the road...so I think it's going to make for a great game", said Jarvis of Thursday's tilt.
Florida Atlantic's 65.4 points allowed per game is second to only Denver amongst league teams.
UNT at a Glance
After winning the Sun Belt and making an NCAA tournament last season, the Mean Green were selected as western division favorite in the Sun Belt pre-season coaches poll. So far, they haven't quite lived up to expectations to that at 5-4 in league play.
However they do have two quality non-conference wins in LSU and Texas Tech.
Most recently, UNT dropped their second straight game in a road match-up against Denver, snapping a five game win streak over the Pioneers. The Mean Green had no answer for DU's 12 three pointers.
"I think that Denver did a great job of shooting the basketball. We didn't do a great job of containing them, and credit them, they fed off of it," said head coach Johnny Jones.
George Odufuwa's 14 points and 11 rebounds led UNT, while marking his 27th all time double-double.
The Mean Green are first in the Sun Belt in points per contest (79.3), scoring margin (+6.1 ppg), and free throw percentage (74.6), and field goal percentage (49.1). Josh White (85.0) leads five NT players that shoot over 80 percent from the stripe.
The average margin of defeat in NT’s four wins over Florida Atlantic at the Super Pit is 12.3 points per game.
Owl's Nest Prediction
North Texas will undoubtedly challenge the Owls defense on Thursday with advantages in FG%, 3PT%, FT%, and RPG.
The Owls can minimize a portion if the Mean Green's high octane offense by limiting fouls. Jarvis says they have plans to try and do just that - especially with Royster, who will be needed for the entire contest and not just a portion of it.
Secondly, FAU has not shot the ball well from long range lately, and could benefit strongly with a well timed showing at the Super Pit.
Regardless, have to be objective in this one. On paper it is very hard to argue the road trend in Denton changing.
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