GAME CAPSULE: #23 FAU @ UTSA - January 21st, 2024
What: #23 FAU (14-4, 4-1 AAC) vs UTSA (7-11, 1-4 AAC)
When: Sun. Jan. 21st, @ 3:00 PM EST
Where: Convocation Center
Series: Owls lead 10-6 all-time against the Roadrunners.
Radio: FoxSports 640
Live Stats: Here
Line: FAU -16
FAU at a Glance
Offense - 83 PPG, 49% FG, 36% 3PT
Defense - 71 PPGA, 44% FGA, 34% 3PTA
Rebounding - 38 RPG Owls, 33 RPG Opponents
Very fitting for FAU to come out strong in the second half, outscoring Wichita State by 20 during that period to earn the win in front of an energetic crowd and a star-studded night with sports celebrities Jimmy Butler, Aleksander Barkov, and Glen Rice making their appearances at The Burrow.
This was especially the case for Alijah Martin, who had 16 of his 22 points in the half while lighting it up from downtown with four triples. He also led the team in rebounds with nine and steals with three. It was a resounding performance for Martin, looking to get himself back in rhythm on a consistent basis.
The Owls now look forward to their road matchup with UTSA, a team that they have won three straight against since the 2021-22 season. With this core of players, FAU has beaten the Roadrunners by a combined margin of 68 points while averaging 87.3 per game.
FAU is at their best when playing fast and getting transition shots, scoring 22 points on the fastbreak and making 10 steals against the Shockers. Playing a Roadrunner side that commits 11.9 turnovers per game, this is an area that they need to emphasize on both sides of the ball.
Nick Boyd (pictured via Christian Proscia) could play a key role in how the Owls fare against the Roadrunners. He provided a steady presence with nine points and three assists, making timely plays whether it's shooting from the perimeter or dishing the ball to his teammates for high-quality shots.
The Owls are also 13-0 when holding the lead with five minutes to play this season. Something to keep an eye on if they are up against UTSA near the end of Sunday's game.
FAU has another matchup in Texas, next facing Rice in Houston for the annual "Battle of the Owls" on January 24th at 8:00 PM EST. The matchup will be broadcast on ESPN+.
UTSA Team Site: Here
UTSA at a Glance
Offense - 79 PPG, 42% FG, 34% 3PT
Defense - 82 PPGA, 45% FGA, 36% 3PTA
Rebounding - 40 RPG, 39 RPG Opponents
The transition to The American has been tough for UTSA, losing four of their first five contests in conference play.
After beating Rice on the road for their first AAC win, they sustained brutal close defeats to Memphis and Charlotte before getting blown out by 29 points against Tulsa. They would be very motivated in creating much-needed momentum by defending their homecourt against FAU, ranked 24th in the country according to the latest AP Top 25 poll.
"We have to get a lot better and going on the road, as we know, is very difficult. UAB beat UTSA on a buzzer beater and (UTSA) lost on a few tough calls in another game so we know how challenging it's going to be against UTSA," head coach Dusty May said.
The Roadrunners' offensive capabilities received a boost with the return of Jordan Ivy-Curry. Playing in the team's last eight games as the sixth man, he continued his impressive performance with a seventh double-figure scoring outing in eight attempts. Against Tulsa, he scored 19 points on 5-8 shooting from the field and 7-8 accuracy at the line while securing a team-high seven rebounds. Limiting his production of 17.1 points per game would play a crucial role for the Owls in coming out of San Antonio with the win.
Their defense leaves a lot to be desired. They give up more points than they score, allowing 81.7 per game. It ranks them as the worst scoring scoring defense in the conference and the ninth-worst in the country. Exploiting their weaknesses, particularly inside the arc and the charity stripe, would be advantageous in the Owls' favor.
Keeping them away from the charity stripe would also be beneficial for FAU. UTSA went 19-23 from the free-throw line against Tulsa for the second-best performance (82.6%) this year. Christian Tucker is the player the Owls have to watch out for, leading the Roadrunners in free throws made with 78 for an excellent rate of 87.6%.
Following this matchup, the Roadrunners will remain at home to host Tulane on January 24th at 8:00 PM EST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.