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Coach May Week 13 Presser Notes - January 29th, 2024

Extending their winning streak to six after beating Rice on the road and defending The Burrow in a thrilling victory over North Texas, the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team yearns to keep up the pace when they host Tulsa on February 3rd.

Head coach Dusty May spoke with media on Monday to evaluate the current state of the team and their preparations against Tulsa.

Below are some of the highlights from the session.

Opening Statement on playing one game this week instead of two

"We need to clean up some things from a fundamental standpoint as a team and individually, and just continue to improve. But it gives us a chance to practice and address some of our own things without having to worry about being fresh for the game. So we'll go tomorrow and challenge (ourselves in) practice Wednesday. The same will go lighter for Thursday and Friday, have a typical game the day before the game practice, and get ready playing a talented but young Tulsa team."

Evaluating their conference standing since the Charlotte loss

"Obviously, we were positioned to win the game and we've had several like that this year. Do we wish we could play the first 10 or 15 minutes over? Absolutely. But we also showed that we could come back from a big lead. It's difficult to win every single night and Charlotte's proven, at the time I think we took some criticism and some heat for losing to Charlotte, but they have really good players. They're tough, they're disciplined, they're connected and they seem to have a really cohesive group. And they haven't lost since the first game at SMU. So definitely nothing to hang our heads about but yes, we wish we had some possessions back. I'd be lying if I said we didn't."

Looking at Johnell Davis' growth as a player

"He's such a unique player and everyone has their own unique skill sets and has the things that make them them. We want all of our guys to do what they do well and be the best version while also molding into a group and in a unit. The thing with Nelly, even before he was ready to play, when we played the best competition, I found myself wanting to play him much more in those games than I did our lesser opponents because he could always get where he needed to get to with the ball in his hands. He has a dynamic first step, and even before he could shoot effectively from long range, he was able to get where he needed to get to."

"That's a something you need in the times when the game bogs down. The game becomes more halfcourt, you see it all the time. The (Miami) Heat are so proficient in the playoffs because it becomes halfcourt a game and youth probably isn't as important so when the balls in his hands, they've got to play him up close because he could shoot and then his ability to simply create offense out of nothing but space is something that he's very gifted at."

Assessing Brenen Lorient's defensive contributions in short spurts of playing time

"As we've seen, every possession is extremely important. And Brenen, immediately after checking in the second half (against UNT), created a couple of turnovers, changed the energy of our defense, gave us a little bit of a different look that gave us an opportunity to use a little bit of a different look than we use for Vlad because they're different players. And I thought he was active on the glass. He kept basketballs alive and like I said, when we get into this time of season, it's all about who can impact and contribute to winning. And he's certainly done that in the last two games."

Preparations for Tulsa

"Their ability to draw fouls, score in the paint, their speed and athleticism from the guard spot. They have a lot of pieces and like Wichita State, they just haven't found ways to close some games. That's not a sign of how good they are and how good they're going to be. They have a young center that's going to be a force in this league. And so they're very talented, they're well coached. Coach Kokell, we've seen him a lot when he was at Louisiana Tech. So we know it's going to be a challenge and luckily, we got a little time to get healthy, hopefully get back to where we look really fast and athletic again."

The Owls will continue practicing at home before getting ready to host Tulsa on Saturday.

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