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Owls too tall, too quick, too 'locked in' for Liberty

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Owls too tall, too quick, too 'locked in' for Liberty

Owls too tall, too quick, too 'locked in' for Liberty


Florida Atlantic opens mid-major showcase round-robin with convincing win

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A little more on FAU-Liberty

Liberty coach Ritchie McKay, who calls himself an admirer of Clark Kellogg, on Tuesday borrowed one of the CBS college basketball analyst's pet phrases to describe what he considers "most impressive" about the Owls:

Their "spurtability"—defined as the ability at any moment to break open a close game with a decisive scoring run.

"Their spurtability is as good as any in the country," McKay said.

"The game can be going on, and pretty even on each side. And …"

… he snapped his fingers …

"… within a 2 1/2-minute span, you're out of the game."

To the Flames' credit Thursday night, they forestalled the Owls' run until the late going. FAU had taken a comfortable control with a series of the kind of plays—passes, steals, dunks—that typically jolt momentum and jump-start those runs. Nothing game-breaking came of them, though. Liberty was hanging in admirably, with a nifty backcut layup here and 30-foot rainbow 3-pointer from Colin Porter there. The Flames actually tightened a 20-point FAU lead to 62-48 with 8:51 still left.

Game on?

With FAU ahead 66-50 about two minutes later, Coach Dusty May signaled the Owls to spread the floor on offense.

Game over.

FAU had opened its lead to that point by finding individual exploitable matchups within the Flames' team defense in normal offensive sets. Now the Owls were eliminating any possible help against drives to the basket—or at worst creating 2-on-1s. Not surprisingly, the Owls' execution was next-level.

Bryan Greenlee beat his man and earned two free throws. Flying through the lane, Alijah Martin dropped a pass off to Vlad Goldin for a dunk. Martin ripped a 3-pointer. Giancarlo Rosado drove for a layup, then a tad later hit two free throws, then a tad after that found Brenen Lorient with a beautiful high-low pass. Suddenly it was 79-50.

That, folks, is spurtability.

Credit the Flames some more, though. This run took 3 1/2 minutes instead of 2 1/2.
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Thanks for the attention to detail, Jim!
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Martin has been playing like a NBA player from a statistics standpoint these last several games. If he maintains some consistency this year, he’ll definitely get drafted into the NBA.

Johnell hasn’t been as consistent and still keeps making way too many turnovers for the NBA. 

I think Goldin and Johnell still need another season to grow and build their resume
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faufan2017 said

Martin has been playing like a NBA player from a statistics standpoint these last several games. If he maintains some consistency this year, he’ll definitely get drafted into the NBA.

Johnell hasn’t been as consistent and still keeps making way too many turnovers for the NBA. 

I think Goldin and Johnell still need another season to grow and build their resume
Posted On: Dec 2nd 2023, 12:13 AM #418706

Martin has a great chance against Illinois and Arizona this month…

Let’s see how those 2 games work out.

Teambeer is the most knowledgeable FAU sports fan I know, way smarter than me.
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faufan2017 said

Martin has been playing like a NBA player from a statistics standpoint these last several games. If he maintains some consistency this year, he’ll definitely get drafted into the NBA.

Johnell hasn’t been as consistent and still keeps making way too many turnovers for the NBA. 

I think Goldin and Johnell still need another season to grow and build their resume
Posted On: Dec 2nd 2023, 12:13 AM #418706

I like Martin and want to see him do well. I think he could score from anywhere and he is one of the best college players today. But at 6'2 I think he'd need to become a better playmaker and ball handler to make it to the NBA
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What to expect tonight, and what they're saying

College of Charleston defeated Liberty 76-67 Friday at the Elly, on the second night of the Field of 68 Tip-Off, for its third straight victory. The Cougars' combination of height, ruggedness, tempo and depth was too much for a Liberty team perhaps already a bit spent from its all-out effort against FAU the night before.

Charleston was disruptive inside on defense (even after giving up offensive rebounds), hounded the Flames' three-point shooters, and led led from the start to finish.The Cougars' overall record (4-3) doesn't reflect how the team has played overall. Coach Pat Kelsey has been blending in newcomers after losing four players who were culture-drivers a year ago when the Cougars won 31 games and matched FAU's 20-game winning streak. Charleston actually led good Vermont and Wyoming teams before getting outplayed down the stretch.

Friday they were extremely solid in those final eight minutes, which Kelsey calls "winning time."

Whatever advantages Florida Atlantic might have against the Cougars tonight, one won't be a clear advantage in depth, at least in distribution of minutes. The Owls' bench production is well-documented, but the Cougars are a top-40 team this season in bench scoring and Friday their bench outscored Liberty's 35-11.  "It's kinda what we do," Kelsey said. "We like to play a lot of guys. It allows us to play at a high rate in terms effort because we're always bringing fresh bodies into the game."

Also like FAU, Charleston strives to whip the ball around at high tempo in its offensive sets to keep defenses on the move—Kelsey labels it "pace, space and zing."

Kelsey had this to say about FAU on his local postgame radio interview Friday: "Florida Atlantic is one of the premier team in America this year. … They're not big in terms of height, but they're strong as ox. They get downhill, they finish at the rim, they shoot it very, very well from three. They have great cohesiveness, they've been together for a long, long time. Their defense is very underappreciated. I think that's one of the greatest things they do. They just have a bunch of big, strong, physical guys that are all like-sized. They switch everything and try to muddy you up. Their hands are all all over the place. It's a great challenge but also a great opportunity."

Nobody is in better position to assess Charleston's path to potential victory tonight than Liberty coach Ritchie McKay.

"I think Charleston has ability to match their tempo," McKay said. "I think it will be a matter of whether Charleston's offense can make it hard on FAU. Two pretty good teams. Should be a great game."


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Thank you Jim for keeping us informed. Purdue lost to Northwestern  :Big-Grin:  :Big-Grin:
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