GAME CAPSULE: #23 FAU vs Wichita State - January 18th, 2024
What: #23 FAU (13-4, 3-1 AAC) vs Wichita State (8-8, 0-3 AAC)
When: Thur. Jan. 18th, @ 7:00 PM EST
Where: The Burrow - Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena
Series: Second matchup. The first-ever encounter resulted in an 88-85 Shocker win dating back to November 1998.
Radio: FoxSports 640
Live Stats: Here
Line: FAU -14
FAU at a Glance
Offense - 82 PPG, 49% FG, 36% 3PT
Defense - 71 PPGA, 43% FGA, 33% 3PTA
Rebounding - 38 RPG Owls, 33 RPG Opponents
Back-to-back wins over Tulane and UAB, which involved going back to the original starting lineup (Davis, Greenlee, Boyd, Martin, Goldin) to begin the season, was plenty of what the Owls needed to get back in rhythm.
However, they did take a hit in their frontcourt. FAU finds themselves in an intriguing position following the latest injury to Giancarlo Rosado, who will be out for a month. This will compel the likes of Tre Carroll (pictured below via Christian Proscia), Brenen Lorient, and Isaiah Gaines to step up in his place.
Speaking of Carroll, he provided a spark off the bench with nine points and three rebounds on 4-5 shooting. He was patient with the ball in his hands, making the right play by either dishing it to his teammates or waiting until the right time to take his shots. His offensive tenacity will likely be needed when the Owls find themselves in a cold stretch.
They will be adjusting their rotation accordingly when they take on Wichita State for their first matchup against them since November 1998, where the Shockers pulled out a three-point win over the Owls. Notable FAU alum from that game include the likes of Damon Arnette, Gary Durrant, Cedric Powell, and Rino Bevis.
It wouldn't be a shock to see Johnell Davis continue to light up the nets. Coming off his second 30-point game this season (third overall), he is averaging around 22.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.7 steals on 53.2% shooting from the field and 46.4% from three in his last six contests.
"Sometimes when players are that proficient scoring the ball, they become a lot more self-centered. It seems as if Nelly's finding the right rhythm and flow of when to go score, when to attack from the perimeter, when to post up, and when to create for his teammates," head coach Dusty May said on Davis.
"He's doing a really nice job of reading the game, taking what the game gives him, and he's just playing a really sound basketball on on both sides of the floor. His physicality in the paint has been much improved the last couple games but his ability to rebound in traffic has been impressive as well."
Nick Boyd seems to be regaining his rhythm since being inserted back into the starting lineup. The last two games saw him put up 15 points, two rebounds, two assists, and a steal on average with shooting splits of 41.2% from the field and 40% from three.
FAU will go on the road when they travel to Texas to take on UTSA on January 21st at 3:00 PM EST. The matchup will be broadcast on either ESPN+.
Wichita State Team Site: Here
Wichita State at a Glance
Offense - 74 PPG, 44% FG, 32% 3PT
Defense - 74 PPGA, 42% FGA, 32% 3PTA
Rebounding - 42 RPG, 36 RPG Opponents
Over 25 years have passed since the Shockers met the Owls, where Maurice Evans led the team with 24 points to will his team to victory at the time. He went on to have a serviceable 11-year career in the NBA since getting drafted in 2001, playing for the Timberwolves, Kings, Pistons, Lakers, Magic, Hawks, and Wizards.
Fast forward to today, recently engulfed in a 26-point blowout defeat to nationally-ranked Memphis, Wichita State hopes to start off strong against the Owls to end their five-game losing streak.
Despite allowing 112 points against the Tigers, the most they have given up since 1994 when Drake scored 109, Wichita State was efficient shooting from the field even though they ended up scoring just 86 points. They shot a season-high 55 percent from the field, including a season-best 13-of-25 from long range, meaning the Owls have to be at their best when it comes to contesting the Shockers' attempts.
One player FAU must have their eyes locked on for the entire game is Colby Rogers. He is Wichita State's best scorer and three-point shooter with 16.1 points per game that includes 44 makes from downtown. In terms of three-point makes, Dalen Ridgnal and Xavier Bell come next with 17 and 12, respectively. Forcing other players to shoot the three-ball has to be one of the Owls' objectives.
Owl guards should be wary when they have Quincy Ballard contesting their shots. Ballard leads the Shockers in blocks with 36, tied for the most rejections in the conference and tied for 19th in the country.
Wichita State is also eager to crash the glass, leading the conference in rebounds per game with 41.6 which also places them at 17th in the nation. Three of their players, Ridgnal, Ballard, and Kenny Pohto, grab over six boards per contest for the team, so the Owls will be keeping themselves busy fighting for every rebound.
Following this matchup, the Shockers will remain in Florida when they head up to Tampa to face USF on January 21st at 2:00 PM EST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.