Men's Hoops Preview: Troy @ FAU
Troy (8-6, 3-0) @ FAU (5-9, 1-2)
When: Thursday, Jan. 7th - 7:00PM EST
Where: Boca Raton, FL - The Burrow
Live Video: FAU Pay Per View
ESPN 760 Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: None
Troy Team Site: Here
G Brandon Hazzard 18.9 ppg
G Richard Delk 13.0 ppg
G Michael Vogler 11.6 ppg
F Antywan Jones 8.9 ppg
C Yamene Coleman 10.0 ppg
G Ray Taylor 17.6 ppg
G Greg Gantt 12.8 ppg
F Sanchez Hughley 9.5 ppg
F Brett Royster 9.5 ppg
C DeMonte Simpson 5.4 ppg
The Trojans hold a 17-6 advantage against FAU. Troy won both of last season's meetings, which included a 78-63 win over the Owls in Boca Raton.
Troy at a Glance
Trailing 24-23 at the break, the Trojans had little difficulty finding an offensive rhythm in the second frame en route to a 64-46 thrashing of Denver last Saturday at Trojan Arena.
Despite the Pioneer's league leading 43.6%, the Trojans held Denver to just 5-23 shooting (27.3%) from long range.
"Our kids, I think, did a good job of adjusting to their cuts and making sure nobody was wide open. It’s very difficult to play defense for a long period of time. You can’t lose your intensity after one or two passes. You have to stay intense the whole time. I was really happy that we were able to do that", said Trojan's Head Coach Don Maestri.
Troy also found its way to the charity stripe 29 times compared to the Pioneer's six.
The Trojans enjoy the leagues best offensive production at 81.1 points per outing, and is second in field goal percentage at 48.9%.
Troy's offense revolves around the guard tandem of Richard Delk (13.0 ppg) and Brandon Hazzard (18.9 ppg), who leads all Sun Belt players in scoring.
FAU at a Glance
South Alabama stormed back, after being down 15 points in the second half, to steal a win against the Owls in OT last Saturday night at FAU Arena.
Brett Rosyter benefited from Ray Taylor's program high 13 assists by way of the flush on four occasions, but the Owls had a tough time finding the basket when the Jaguars caught stride late.
Coach Mike Jarvis was not happy with the officiating, but was pleased with the team's performance - one area aside.
"Even in spite of one of the worst officiated games I've ever been a part of in my life, we probably still should have won the game. It was atrocious. I made a tape of twelve (bad calls)", Jarvis said.
"As far as I am concerned it was a victory, and we will build on it. That's what we are trying to do. I liked everything except for the way we guarded the ball. We did not do a good job defending the ball, but we're working on that", said Jarvis.
And to address this, Jarvis has all but promised to insert Alex Tucker into the line-up more given his defensive prowess and ability.
"Alex has proven that he can defend multiple positions. He may look small but he does not play small. He'll go in and get some of the toughest rebounds in the game. He's our best off the ball defender, as far defending wings that can score. He'll play a lot more because I'm going to need his defense. I could not be more pleased with him than I am right now."
The Owls are currently 10th in overall scoring defense (76.1 ppg) and three point defense (37.5%).
Brett Royster is tops in the conference with 3.1 blocked shots per game while Greg Gantt is third in three pointers with 2.4 per contest.
"Troy is a team that is going to try and outscore you. So, for us to beat Troy, we're gonna have to score. But we're also going to make them play some more defense than they probably want to play", said Jarvis.
Owl's Nest Prediction
Defense, defense, defense. That will be the key to an Owl's win against the Trojans. Like the last opponent (USA), scoring is not going to come underneath the basket. Hopefully FAU got a quick tune up, and learned some things that they can apply towards the Trojans - who will look to score through penetration, and by way of the jumper.
The Owls should control the boards again. But minimizing ill advised shots, and maintaining poise during guaranteed Troy runs must be addressed.
FAU will have to squash a 6.9 ppg differential in scoring that, based upon a review on paper, can only come by more connections at the charity stripe, hot shooting, or shutting down some of the play of either Hazzard or Delk.
After Saturday's "throw away" versus USA, the thought of losing back to back games at home should be a solid point of motivation for the team to climb that small hill.