Men's Hoops Preview: FAU @ Troy
FAU (14-12, 10-5) @ Troy (15-11, 10-5)
When: Saturday, Feb. 20th - 8:30PM EST
Where: Troy, AL - Trojan Arena
Live Video: Troy Pay Per View
ESPN 760 Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
Troy Team Site: Here
G Ray Taylor 14.5 ppg
G Alex Tucker 6.4 ppg
G Greg Gantt 15.8 ppg
G Sanchez Hughley 10.4 ppg
F Brett Royster 9.7 ppg
G Michael Volger 11.8 ppg
G Brandon Hazzard 16.5 ppg
G Richard Delk 12.3 ppg
F Antywan Jones 9.2 ppg
C Yamene Coleman 10.8 ppg
Troy enjoys a 17-7 advantage against FAU in the all time series. The Owls prevailed back on January 7th in a 83-69 win at FAU Arena in which Sanchez Hughley set a new career high with 19 points.
Both teams shot the ball well, but FAU handled the rock much better with a 2.75:1 turnover ratio. Ray Taylor dished 12, and Alex Tucker wasn't far behind with eight. The Trojans managed 10 collectively, and turned the ball over 18 times.
The Trojans were also held to a season low 11 attempts from long range.
FAU at a Glance
Currently second in the league, the Owls continue to be a force to be reckoned with from long distance at 39.0% from beyond the arc.
The Owls were winless on the road in conference play last season but picked up their fourth on the year Thursday night in a 77-74 victory over Florida International.
Defensive efforts enabled the Owls to overcome a late rally by the Panthers thanks to Shavar Richardson drawing an offensive foul, and Brett Royster swatting away a would be attempt to tie the game with just over seven seconds to play.
Richardson drew deserved praise from Head Coach Jarvis:
"That's the second play in a row where he made the winning play on defense. Those are the plays that win games, and especially from a guy that I have been on all year about defense. I'm really, really proud of him", said Jarvis
Additionally, Ray Taylor had one of his best games as of late finishing with 17 points and six assists.
"Coming into this game we weren't just to beat FIU, we were playing to be the number one seed in the Eastern Division", said Taylor.
FAU will need to pull off at least two of it's last three remaining games to have a chance for a bye in the first round of the conference tournament.
But, a realist at heart, Jarvis is not being swayed by his team's unexpected position in the standings this year heading into Saturday's contest.
"Road wins are awfully tough to come by", said Jarvis.
Troy at a Glance
On Thursday, Troy picked up it's 10th conference win on the season in a 66-62 victory over Middle Tennessee.
Trailing 63-56, the Blue Raiders connected on two threes with under 15 seconds to play, but Troy counter punched by hitting three of four crucial free throws.
"Iíve always believed that free throws in the final two or three minutes are more important that free throws anytime in the first half or the first 17 minutes of the second half", said Trojans Head Coach Don Maestri.
"It was a very important win for us, obviously because of our standings. The finish is going to be one whirlwind finish for the Sun Belt Conference this year."
The Trojans are tops in the league in scoring (76.6 ppg).
Owl's Nest Prediction
The Trojans had a tough time with an improved FIU squad last Saturday and almost saw overtime until a shot by the Panthers rimmed out just prior to the buzzer.
Troy faltered against FAU's small line-up when the two last met in a surprise attack that caught them off "guard" having not had the chance to see the formation on film.
Maestri and company had no preparation, but will this time with plenty of footage to peruse. Whether or not they will make be able to make the adjustments to defend the perimeter is up for debate.
This game will likely go down to the waning minutes of regulation unless one team gains the hot hand from long range in the second half to provide some separation.
FAU has shown some needed poise away from Boca Raton this season, and there is no reason to believe the same won't happen on Saturday. The defense still needs some work, but once hoped-for maturity is now becoming a reality while the squad edges closer and closer towards that of an all around ball club.
Like the match-ups against Troy, and are taking the Owls in this one.