Freshman Chris Watson is shooting a team-best 54% from the field. (Photo by Bob Markey)
Jan. 28, 2009
ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK (14-6) @ FLORIDA ATLANTIC (4-17)
Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009 - 7 p.m. ET
FAU Arena (5,000) - Boca Raton, FL
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE (7-12) @ FLORIDA ATLANTIC
Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009 - 7 p.m. ET
FAU Arena (5,000) - Boca Raton, FL
GAMES #22/23: The Owls (4-17; 0-9 SBC) will be looking to snap a 12-game losing streak when they host Arkansas-Little Rock (14-6; 7-2 SBC) on Thursday night. A date with Louisiana-Lafayette (7-12; 4-4 SBC) awaits the Owls on Saturday. The visiting schools, members of the Sun Belt Conference West Division, are playing their only scheduled game against FAU this season.
TV/RADIO/INTERNET: All of FAU's regular season games (home and away) will air on live commercial radio WFTL - 640 AM with audio links available via FAUSPORTS.com. Ken LaVicka (play-by-play) will call the games for WFTL on both Thursday and Saturday. Live scoring via GAMETRACKER and an additional video feed can also be accessed on FAUSPORTS.com.
# Mike Jarvis (367-219 all-time) is in his first year as FAU head coach
# Jarvis got the Owls off to the best start in its Division I history (3-1) before injuries and eligibility issues decimated the team
# The Owls are limited to eight scholarship players and enter the week having lost 12-straight
# FAU is coming off a 62-60 loss at Arkansas State
# UALR (7-2 Sun Belt) enters the week in first place in the SBC West
# Louisiana-Lafayette, 1-7 on the road, plays at Middle Tennessee St. (12-8) on Thursday prior to Saturday's game at FAU
# FAU is 2-0 versus the two teams at the FAU Arena - sweeping a weekend set against the schools two years ago - beating ULL 75-72 (1/24/07) and UALR 75-71 (1/27/07)
# 3 of FAU's 4 wins have come at the FAU Arena where the Owls are averaging nearly 70 points per game
# The Owls are 35-12 at the FAU Arena over the past three seasons
# 4 underclassmen have started for FAU in each of the last 3 games (3 freshmen, 1 sophomore)
# Rookie guards Alex Tucker (4.8 assists p/g) and Shavar Richardson (39 3FG) scored 16 points apiece last time out
# Senior G Paul Graham III (16.8 ppg) ranks second in the league in points (336)
# Graham recently moved in to 4th all-time at FAU in points (1,282) and assists (206)
# Sophomore F/C Brett Royster needs just 12 blocks to break FAU's single-season record... Royster leads the league in blocks (47) and ranks No. 37 in the NCAA (2.2 blocks pg)
# UP NEXT: @ New Orleans Thursday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. ET
FLORIDA ATLANTIC: The Owls (4-17) are still in search of its first Sun Belt win (0-9). A promising start to the season has seen preseason Sun Belt "Player of the Year," senior forward Carlos Monroe, play in just six games and the team's most productive player, sophomore guard Xavier Perkins, sidelined after Game 8 to focus on academics. Freshmen Alex Tucker - 2nd in the Sun Belt in assists (4.8 pg) - and Shavar Richardson (11.8 ppg) have emerged as two of the league's best young guards. Rookie classmate, forward Chris Watson (.544 FG%), has joined Tucker and Richardson has a regular in FAU's starting lineup. Senior PG Carderro Nwoji (10.0 ppg) and high-scoring guard Paul Graham III (16.8 ppg) provide experience to an FAU team that has been competitive in all but one game this season - making its 4-17 record a bit misleading.
ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK: The first-place Trojans (14-6) are beginning a stretch of playing 4 of 5 on the road. UALR had won five-straight before losing to Troy at home last Saturday 63-58. 6th-year head coach and 2004 SBC Coach of the Year Steve Shields is receiving double-figures in scoring from three different players. 6-foot junior guard Steven Moore (13.5 ppg) is the team's leading scorer. Moore and junior forward Mike Smith - who is expected to play Thursday after having been suspended for violating team rules six games ago - were both key in UALR's 66-60 SBC Tournament win over FAU last March. Smith scored a game-high 18 and Moore finished with 17. Moore was a preseason all-conference pick at guard and UALR is living up to the coaches' prediction of the Trojans winning the SBC West.
THE SERIES WITH UALR: The Trojans lead the all-time series with FAU 2-1 after claiming two wins over the Owls last season, including a 66-60 victory in the second round of the SBC Tournament at the Mitchell Center in Mobile (3/9/08). Earlier in the year UALR posted an 80-76 win over the Owls in Little Rock (1/27/08) despite 17 points and seven rebounds by FAU PG Carderro Nwoji. FAU won the first-ever meeting between the schools, a 75-71 decision in Boca Raton (1/27/07).
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE: The Rajin' Cajuns (7-12) knocked off South Alabama 67-65 at home last weekend and will travel to Middle Tennessee State before visiting South Florida for a single-game with FAU. The Cajuns will have played 8 of 11 on the road in the month January after Saturday night's game in Boca Raton. ULL finished last season 15-15 and 7-11 in the SBC. The Cajuns - who have also been hit by the injury bug this year - has returned to full strength. The team makes over seven 3-pointers per game. 6-foot-7 freshman Travis Bureau has made 45 triples this season and ranks 45th in the NCAA in 3-point makes per game (2.9).
THE SERIES WITH ULL: Louisiana-Lafayette led FAU by 23 at halftime and went on to beat the Owls 71-52 last season at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette (12/29/07). The two teams have met just twice. FAU's 75-72 victory in Boca Raton (1/27/07) two years ago puts the all-time series even one game apiece.
GAME PROMOTIONS: The first 150 fans Thursday will receive a FREE t-shirt provided by Tim Grabowski Roofing... The first 100 FAU students will receive a FREE voucher good for a hot dog, popcorn or nachos on both Thursday and Saturday...The first 200 fans Saturday will receive a FREE Amp Energy drink.
NEXT UP: @ New Orleans Thursday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. ET. The Privateers (9-11; 4-5 SBC) upset preseason league favorite Middle Tennessee State 69-65 Saturday. UNO has played well at home this season versus the Sun Belt, having won 4 of its first 5 entering the week.