Men's Hoops Preview: Louisiana-Lafayette @ FAU
UL (11-12, 8-4) @ FAU (12-12, 8-5)
When: Thursday, Feb. 11th - 7:00PM EST
Where: Boca Raton, FL - The Burrow
Live Video: None
ESPN 760 Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: None
UL Team Site: Here
G Travis Bureau 5.7 ppg
G Raymone Andrews 3.4 ppg
F Tyren Johnson 17.2 ppg
F Chris Gradnigo 14.5 ppg
C Colby Batiste 3.2 ppg
G Ray Taylor 14.5 ppg
G Alex Tucker 6.2 ppg
G Greg Gantt 15.5 ppg
G Sanchez Hughley 9.9 ppg
F Brett Royster 9.5 ppg
After an 81-74 win against the Owls back on December 12th, the Cajuns evened the series at 2-2. Ray Taylor (23) and Gregg Gantt (21) combined for 44 of FAU’s 64 points.
The host team continues to enjoy all victories.
UL at a Glance
Riding a three game winning streak, the Cajuns will look to sweep FAU on the season heading into Thursday's match-up.
Go-to performer Tyren Johnson, who was named the Sun Belt's Conference Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 26 points and eight rebounds over in the last two games, has scored in double figures in 12 straight times and currently leads the league with 17.2 ppg.
UL held their last two opponents to an impressive 0% (UALR, 0-13), and 16.7% (FIU, 3-18) from long range.
Ironically, they are second to last (12th) in the same category with just 31% of their shots passing through the net.
Currently, the Cajuns are only one game back for the overall No. 1 seed in the SBC Tournament; making Thursday's contest all the more meaningful.
FAU at a Glance
In games against SBC opponents where FAU has attempted 18+ threes, they are 8-1. In games they have attempted 16 or fewer, they are 1-4. Last week's road trip into North Texas (13) and Denver (13) was of the latter.
Accordingly, the trend seems to be less long range attempts equals an Owl's loss in conference play. But Jarvis would like to see progress made on the defensive side of the ball to ensure wins.
"The most important thing is that we play better basketball, particularly on defense. If we're gonna have a chance in Hot Springs it's not going to be because of three point shooting, it's going to be because of defense", Jarvis said.
"Kids today are taught offense, offense, offense. We're going to try and have these guys understand defense by the end of this year", said Jarvis. "Hopefully we'll see Thursday night there will be a much better team defensive effort."
FAU currently ranks twelfth in the Sun Belt in both scoring defense and three point defense.
Most recently, Denver shot their way to a 73-63 victory over the Owls. The Pioneers built as much as an 18 point second half advantage before FAU pulled to within six late.
Jarvis left the door open for a possible shift in the Owl's starting five for Thursday. But given the result last time around against UL, which was an 81-74 loss with a larger line-up, it is likely that things will remain the same.
Aside from McCoy, there isn't much else to introduce. Simpson is nursing a toe injury and remains questionable. Royster was snuffed for just two points in 21 minutes of action against UL; although he did picked up four swats.
"Our team is night and day from that game. We've been really good this year when we've put in things for a game. These guys are really good when stuff is fresh, and you put in a little wrinkle here and there", said Jarvis.
So, a change in plays is more likely than a change of line-up.
Owl's Nest Prediction
The line is spot on for this one, but the Owls will need to shoot better than the last two games. And, with a return to the home floor, that should be the case as they are 8-2 at FAU Arena on the season.
How to stop Johnson is the biggest challenge facing FAU. Hughley didn't get the call last go round, so it will be interesting to see how he fairs tomorrow.
Buckle-up for another close one!