Men's Hoops Preview: FAU @ North Texas
FAU (12-10, 8-3) @ UNT (13-8, 6-5)
When: Thursday, Feb. 4th - 8:00PM EST
Where: Denton, TX - Super Pit
Live Video: None
ESPN 760 Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
UNT Team Site: Here
G Ray Taylor 14.3 ppg
G Alex Tucker 5.7 ppg
G Greg Gantt 15.8 ppg
G Sanchez Hughley 10.4 ppg
F Brett Royster 9.6 ppg
G Josh White 14.6 ppg
G Tristan Thompson 14.0 ppg
G Shannon Shorter 6.5 ppg
F Eric Tramiel 12.4 ppg
F George Odufwa 11.3 ppg
In a short lived series that dates back to 2006-07 season, North Texas has a 3-1 advantage over FAU. The Mean Green downed the Owls twice last year in Denton. The most meaningful was a 79-73 defeat in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament play-in. FAU cut a 14 point UNT second half lead to just 2 with 48 seconds to play.
"Almost...but the effort was good and that is something that we are going to have as we move forward. We had the ball with twelve seconds to go and we lose the ball. If we had the ball, who knows what happens", offered Coach Jarvis on the spirited loss.
Free throws were a key difference in the game, as the Mean Green went to the line a staggering 35 times, and hit on 29 of them.
FAU at a Glance
A record crowd of 2,916 was on hand last Saturday to watch a fired up Owl's squad effectively blow out FIU 106-88 at FAU Arena.
FAU shot a season high 60.7% from the floor, and 50% from downtown (15-30).
"It's exciting. A lot more fun when you're winning. Keeps you sharp. It's great", said Mike Jarvis.
It was the Owl's fifth straight victory and one that saw two program records fall in most three pointers made by a freshman (Gantt 64), and most assists in a game (Tucker 16).
"If there's any one guy on our team that's been the unsung hero it's been Alex (Tucker). Make no mistake about it", Jarvis said.
Tucker currently ranks fourth in the Sun Belt in assists with 4.4 per game, and second in assist to turnover ratio at 2.1:1.
Despite producing inconsistent results thus far after being picked to win the Sun Belt's western division by nine of the leagues Coaches, Jarvis is aware of the Mean Green's capabilities.
"We're going to Texas...They've got talent. No doubt about it", said Jarvis. "They've got a couple injuries and lost a couple pretty good players from last year. I think that's made a difference for them."
Atop the East in a two-way tie with Middle Tennessee, FAU has its sight set on creating some distance and obtaining a first round bye in the Sun Belt Tournament.
The Owls are 3-2 on the year away from FAU Arena.
Junior guard Sanchez Hughley leads FAU in field goal (47.8%, 85-178) and three point percentage (53.5%, 23-43).
UNT at a Glance
North Texas fought back late, but fell just short in a 69-64 loss at Middle Tennessee on Saturday. After trailing by nine points with 3:15 to play, UNT pulled to within two points after trailing by nine with just 1:35 remaining. But the Blue Raiders capitalized on a turnover that resulted in a dunk on the opposite end by Rod Emanuel.
"I thought that we came out and let them be the aggressor as opposed to last year when we were, and we just didn't set the tone tonight," said head coach Johnny Jones.
Forward George Odufuwa has posted four straight double-doubles, and is atop the Sun Belt in rebounds with 10.5 per contest.
North Texas ranks third in the league in scoring (74.4 ppg) and secoond in free throw percentage (73.5%).
The Mean Green is 8-2 on the year at the Super Pit.
Owl's Nest Prediction
Put it on the locker room chalkboard: Two defeats last season to a team that is not even in the same division.
The Owls are not the same team by many means of recollection.
But holdovers Royster, Richardson, and Tucker will remember.
North Texas had a tough time finishing off FAU during the play-in last season. Given marked changes to both teams, they will now have a much tougher time.