Three's A Crowd
What: Florida Atlantic (18-7, 10-1) vs Denver (11-12, 7-3)
When: Thursday, Feb. 10th @ 9:00 PM EST
Where: Magness Arena
TV: FSN Rocky Mountain
Live Video: None
Internet Broadcast: Here
Live Stats: Here
Denver Team Site: Here
G Ray Taylor 12.2 ppg
G Greg Gantt 14.7 ppg
G Alex Tucker 7.8 ppg
F Kore White 8.8 ppg
F Brett Royster 8.3 ppg
G Brian Stafford 12.9 ppg
G Tyler Thalken 4.7 ppg
G Travis Hallam 8.8 ppg
G Chase Hallam 13.0 ppg
F Justin Coughlin 2.7 ppg
The Owls trail the Pioneers 3-2 overall, with each meeting having been won by the home team. Last time on the hardwood, Ray Taylor scored 20 points but FAU fell to Denver's hot hand (71.4% 3PT) at Magness Arena 73-63.
FAU at a Glance
The W's continue to pile up for the Owls. Last Saturday Shavar Richardson's clutch shooting from long range helped FAU complete a game winning run in the waning moments to slip by the Golden Panthers for their seventh close win on the year (five or fewer points). Richardson dropped 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting in just 16 minutes off the bench.
The win was televised throughout south Florida, and likely will likely have significant contribution towards recruiting; especially considering a couple of roster spots are in question for next season.
For now, Denver is the next point of focus; a team Jarvis doesn't look forward to given the deliberate style they will bring to the floor on Thursday - the Princeton offense.
"I wish they were coming here, but we are going there. But I do think we can beat them, you've just got to play a very smart game against them and you've got to hope you can prevent them from getting off to a big start. Because they will spread the floor out and they'll pass it, and back door. I hate to play them", commented Jarvis on the Pioneers.
"Anytime you play against anybody that does something that very few people do it's more difficult. In the end you've got to defend the ball...you can't be stupid when you play them."
Should the Owls win, they will gain a substantial advantage towards conference post-season play while earning a first round bye in the conference tournament to be held March 5-8. Not having to play on day one excites Jarvis.
"It's huge, from here on in every game in the Sun Belt is going to be big because no one wants to have to try and go to the NCAA Tournament by winning four games in four days. It's usually not going to happen"
Brett Royster is closing in on his own single season blocks record of 90 set during the 2009-10 slate. Currently sitting at 81, the senior needs just 10 more to exceed the mark.
On the year, Florida Atlantic is a respectable 12-5 when Royster tallies three or more swats. Last year at Magness Arena, he had none.
The Owls have been outshot by opponents from long range over the last four contests.
Denver at a Glance
Having been picked third in the Sun Belt preseason coaches' poll, the Pioneers are exceeding expectations thus far and currently sit atop the league's West Division. Helping matters, four starters and seven of the top eight scorers returned from a roster that went 10-8 in the conference last season.
But they have shown inconsistency to say the least.
After starting off 2-9, the Pioneers suddenly sprung to life en route to an 8-0 mark that was highlighted by 62-59 a win over Western Kentucky at Diddle Arena. Since then, they have gone 1-3, with the lone victory coming ironically against UNT.
Last Saturday Denver tossed up a season low 3-of-17 performance from long range as ASU returned favor towards an earlier season loss, downing the Pioneers 60-35 in Jonesboro.
The contest saw a season low in points, three point percentage, and field goal percentage for DU, whose starters accounted for just 15 points collectively.
"Things went very well for them all game, and things did not go well for us at all. We have to learn from this game tonight, and we have to make sure we remember this game", Head Coach Joe Scott said after the defeat.
The Pioneers are 9-3 at Magness Arena on the year and a perfect 5-0 in conference play. Their 63.1 ppg allowed ranks them first in defense amongst Sun Belt members, but they sit just one spot above the bottom offensively at 61.8 per outing.
Rebounding is a sore spot though, as they occupy the basement in both offensive (5.1 pg) and defensive (18.0 pg) grabs.
"It’s been a down and up climb for us. We have to show that what happened this past weekend is just something that happened", said Scott.
"There’s obviously the best team (FAU) in the league coming in here. We have to make sure we’re ready to play and to play as well as we can."
Owl's Nest Prediction
A slim opening line the Pioneer's way out of the land of sin, but like FAU in this one.
Although they are heading into "hostile" territory at Magness, the Owls are undefeated on the road (5-0) in conference play. And that's a pretty impressive counter argument to "thin air", "hockey arena" and the long ball.
However, FAU will need to show up on the perimeter. They gave up way too many to FIU, who isn't even known for three point shooting.
Good thing they can watch tape of ASU shutting the door last weekend.
All this aside, the paper trail has the Owls on top 1.7 points. Since you can't win by that much, we'll toss in the remainder for good measure.
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