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GAME CAPSULE: #22 FAU @ Rice - January 24th, 2024

FAU faces Rice in "Battle of the Owls" on the road

What: #22 FAU (15-4, 5-1 AAC) vs Rice (7-11, 1-4 AAC)

When: Wed. Jan. 24th, @ 8:00 PM EST

Where: Tudor Fieldhouse

Series: FAU leads 6-4 all-time against Rice. Won four straight dating back to the 2018-19 season.


Radio: FoxSports 640

Live Stats: Here

Line: FAU -12.5

FAU at a Glance

Offense - 84 PPG, 49% FG, 37% 3PT

Defense - 73 PPGA, 44% FGA, 35% 3PTA

Rebounding - 38 RPG Owls, 34 RPG Opponents

Owl Notables

The overtime victory against UTSA this past Sunday, which featured a 16-point comeback, was quite the offensive downpour for the Owls.

Scoring 112 points on the Roadrunners was the most FAU scored since December 2020 for the second most in school history. Not only did this mark the Owls' second performance of scoring 100 or more points this season, but it also indicated their seventh game with at least 90, surpassing the previous campaign's mark of six.

The dynamic duo of Johnell Davis (pictured via FAU Athletics) and Alijah Martin showcased themselves in full force throughout the last two games. They averaged 50.5 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, and 4.5 steals combined against Wichita State and UTSA, demonstrating how lethal FAU can be when both players are in rhythm at the same time.

Ball movement remains the key to this Owls' offense continuing to be potent, with the team recording 21 assists to reach the 20-assist mark for the sixth time this year. Nick Boyd had a team-high six assists against UTSA, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him dish the ball a lot over the next couple of games.

Keep an eye on FAU's perimeter shooting. They connected on 17 three-pointers for a new season-high, with many of them coming from Martin, Davis, Boyd, and Brandon Weatherspoon. It is possible they may keep that hot shooting going against a Rice unit that allows 36% of their opponents' three-point attempts to go through the hoop.

The Owls will return home to Boca Raton, preparing to host defensive juggernaut North Texas on January 28th at 1:00 PM EST. The matchup will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Rice Team Site: Here

Rice at a Glance

Offense - 73 PPG, 44% FG, 32% 3PT

Defense - 76 PPGA, 45% FGA, 36% 3PTA

Rebounding - 37 RPG, 35 RPG Opponents

Rice Notables

Rice has been stumbling throughout their inaugural season of being a member of The American, but finally got their first win in conference play after beating Temple 69-66.

They now look at their encounter against FAU with some heavy challenges. For starters, they haven't won against them since February 2018, allowing 83.5 points in their four-game losing streak to FAU. They will hope to be better defensively, especially after giving up 103 points near the end of last season.

They will be missing one of their key players in Cameron Sheffield, who is dealing with a foot injury that has kept him on the sidelines since the season began. He started in 34 of Rice's 35 games throughout the 2022-23 campaign, putting up 7.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on 43% shooting from the field and 37.3% from three-point range.

FAU will be quite busy keeping Rice's leading scorer Travis Evee in check. He averaged a team-high 18.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals en route to being named on the AAC's weekly Honor Roll. He connected on 45.8% (11-24) of his attempts from the field, 41.7% (5-12) from three, and 81.8% (9-11) from the charity stripe.

Denying Max Fiedler the ball would boost FAU's chances of winning this game. Fiedler is Rice's star passer, leading the team in assists with 5.2 per game. This also puts him among the 50 best playmakers in the country, currently tied for 41st place. He also tops the rebounding chart for Rice, grabbing 9.4 boards which places him at the top of the AAC and 33rd at the national level.

FAU must do well contesting shots from the perimeter. Outside of Alem Huseinovic's accuracy of 41% from downtown, the next five Rice players who have taken 30 or more attempts from beyond the arc are shooting 32% or worse. Their inconsistencies is a weakness FAU should look to take advantage of to have a better display on defense.

Following this matchup, Rice remains at home to host Tulsa on January 27th at 8:00 PM EST. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

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