What: South Alabama (7-6, 1-1) vs FAU (9-6, 2-0)
When: Thursday, Jan. 6th @ 7:00 PM EST
Where: FAU Arena
Live Video: None
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Owls' GameTracker
South Alabama Team Site: Here
G Tim Williams 14.8 ppg
F Martino Brock 14.0 ppg
F Gary Redus 5.5 ppg
F Javier Carter 6.9 ppg
C Augustine Rubit 11.5 ppg
G Ray Taylor 10.4 ppg
G Alex Tucker 8.4 ppg
G Greg Gantt 15.2 ppg
F Kore White 9.0 ppg
F Brett Royster 7.6 ppg
Florida Atlantic is 2-7 all-time against South Alabama. Last year, the Owls posted a 1-2 mark against the Jaguars.
South Alabama at a Glance
After a rocky start, South Alabama has won 4 straight, and will be going for the 700th overall program win on Thursday night.
Last Sunday, the Jaguars held off Middle Tennessee 63-57 behind Tim Williams' 25 points, and 10-of-11 performance at the charity stripe.
“The one statistic that I told Tim that’ll tell if he had a good game, is if he shot free throws,” said Jaguar's Coach Ronnie Arrow. “If he shoots free throws that means he’s active."
The team may be a bit on the small size, with only one player over 6-6. But they are out grabbing opponents (+1.9 rpg); most of which can be attributed to redshirt freshman center Augustine Rubit, who plays much bigger than his size.
Rubit is 6-6 himself, but has hauled in nine rebounds in each of his last eight games with six double-digit performances. He currently sits atop the Sun Belt, and ninth in the nation in rebounding (10.9). And, he can score it proficiently as well. In the last five contests, Rubit has connected on 68.1% of his attempts.
Accordingly, the Jags are 7-0 when winning the rebounding and shooting categories, and 0-6 when losing both.
As a team USA's 5.8 blocks per game is good enough to edge the Owls for first place in the conference rankings, and a 15th placing in all of DI.
FAU at a Glance
Florida Atlantic posted a season high in points on Monday night, pulling away in the second half to a 94-76 win over Florida Memorial and dominating in the front court. The Owls' 12 blocks was their best outing since back in December 2009 against Miami in the Orange Bowl Classic.
Additionally, Ray Taylor recorded a season high 11 assists - his fourth double dish affair since becoming an Owl - and Pablo Bertone enjoyed a career high 10 points. Jarvis was pleased with both, but particularly Bertone, who he said would start to see increased playing time as a result of his intensity.
"That's what Pablo brings to you", commented Coach Mike Jarvis afterwards. "Pablo get's excited all the time, and the one good thing about him is you know he's going to give you the effort all the time."
But there were flashbacks of earlier games against non DI opponents when FAU trailed in the second frame, mostly due lackluster pressure against the Lions. Jarvis says that will need to change against South Alabama.
"We've got to come out and play a lot better to start the game, especially from the defensive end", Jarvis said. "Five guys playing as one instead of five guys playing as five guys. If you want to go to Five Guys, you go buy a hamburger or a hot dog."
And they should have plenty of motivation to make that happen. Last year in the Sun Belt Tournament, the Jags knocked off FAU by one point to send the team packing back to Boca Raton early in a first round exit.
"I don't know if we could ever make up for that, but we need to get one Thursday", remarked Jarvis when asked about the game. "We missed a lay-up at the buzzer. You can use whatever word you want, revenge, payback, but we owe them a whipping."
The Owls currently enjoy the best point guard tandem in the conference with Taylor (4.4) and Alex Tucker (4.1) nabbing 2nd and 3rd place standings in assists per game.
Owl's Nest Prediction
The Jags will likely control the glass, but has trouble winning on the road at 1-4.
FAU allows less points, shoots better (field and long range), and gets the home court factored in.
Put this all together, and the Owls should move towards their best start since joining the league at 3-0.
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