Hard Fought Battle "Falls Just Short"
"It's a unique opportunity...wish the circumstances were different...we're going to be in the game...hopefully we'll find a way to make the big play", offered Mike Jarvis II prior to tonight's contest. Sure enough, it would come down to the waining seconds, the need for a big play, and an aggressive play call on his behalf to go for the win rather than the tie. But it would not end the way he hoped, as the Owls lost 60-62 to the RedWolves of Arkansas State .
The Owls traveled into Jonesboro, AR to take on John Brady's RedWolves without their usual leader in Head Coach Mike Jarvis, who is serving a one game suspension due to technical fouls issued in a recent loss to Louisiana-Monroe last Thursday night.
The contest was initially billed to be a coaching showcase for the Sun Belt given the major success of both Jarvis, having led three different programs into the NCAA Tournament during stops, and John Brady, who spent the last 10-plus seasons serving as LSU's head coach, leading the Tigers to six postseason berths.
So, the substitution match-up of Jarvis II and Brady was set.
Each team utilized a smaller line-up starting three guards, as Arkansas State forward Eric McKinney, who leads the conference in blocked shots, was sidelined due to suspension.
This played into the Owls hands well initially, as ASU held a slim advantage all the way to the 4:30 mark of the first period when the Owls scrapped their way to a tie. Inserting a larger low post line-up, ASU would respond with a 10-0 run. FAU's shooting cooled off considerably to end the half. They did not score in the final 3:30, and trailed 25-35 at the break.
The Owls were in foul trouble again to start the second, as Brett Royster followed a power slam with his fourth personal less than 2 minutes in.
But FAU would make some headway against the deficit midway through the second behind a 7-0 run with baskets by from Graham, Coleman and Richardson; eventually working the lead down to just two points with just over three minutes to play.
ASU ran the lead back to six until Carderro Nwoji, who was 0-6 in the first, hit a three to bring the Owls back to within 3. Richardson followed that with one of his own after an ASU score.
With :41 remaining ASU was content to use clock but it backfired, when they missed their low post attempt by Yima Chia-Kur.
Only down by 2, and with :18 seconds left, Tucker begin to set up what appeared to be a three point play to get the ball to Paul Graham for the winning shot. But, surprisingly, time just wound down. When Graham finally got the ball, with only seconds left, he dribbled around at the top of the perimeter and was only able to loft a desperation shot that fell just short as time expired.
Yima Chia-Kur lead State with 26 points and 12 rebounds. FAU had no answer for him.
For FAU, it was Tucker. In his most well rounded game as an Owl, he finished with 16 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Shavar Richardson added 16, while Paul Graham finished with 8 points, on 4-17 shooting.