Jan. 29, 2007
BOCA RATON, FL - After picking up a pair of wins at home the Florida Atlantic University men's basketball team will attempt to continue its momentum on the road this week as it travels to Arkansas State and Troy.
Florida Atlantic defeated Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas-Little Rock by a combined margin of seven points last week as senior guard DeAndre Rice put the team on his back and lifted FAU to a pair of victories. Rice scored 41 points in the two games, including clutch shots late in both contests and was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week.
"We're working on building this program," Head Coach Rex Walters said. "Our team is playing better each game. Even in the losses I see signs of them doing the things we're asking them to do as coaches."
The Flint, MI native now leads the Owls in scoring, averaging 18.3 points per game. Sophomore forward Carlos Monroe is the team's second-leading scorer at 17.1, while Paul Graham, who also played a major role in both victories after returning from injury, contributes 14.2 points. Jeff Parmer is the team's fourth-leading scorer (9.6) and second-leading rebounder (5.9).
Arkansas State (11-11, 6-4 SBC) is tough to beat inside the ASU Convocation Center. The Indians are 8-1 on their home floor, 4-1 in conference play.
Adrian Banks is among the Sun Belt's leading scorers at 21.9 points per game. He also ranks third on the team in rebounding at 4.4. Issac Wells averages 14.4 points and a team-best 8.1 rebounds.
The Indians hit 45.6 percent of their shots while opponents connect at just a 41.4 percent rate. ASU presents a major threat from deep, connecting at a 41.4 percent clip. Banks is the team's top three-point sniper at a startling 51.1 percent (71-for-139).
They are coming off a tough loss at Florida International after picking up a huge win at home against Western Kentucky. ASU has won four of its last six games and is riding a three-game home winning streak. This is the first meeting between the two schools.
"The Indians do some really good things," Walters said. "They are very athletic and will be tough to play in their arena. We have our work cut out for us."
Florida Atlantic will face Troy for the second time this season. The Owls picked up a 91-87 victory at FAU Arena against the Trojans in FAU's first Sun Belt Conference game, on December 23, 2006.
Troy had five players finish in double figures that game, while FAU had four. Boo Ramsey led the Trojans with 22, and Derrick Simmons had one of his best collegiate games scoring 21 for the Owls. Monroe added 20 and Graham 16 to go with Brent Crews' first-career double-double (10 points, 10 assists).
O'Darien Bassett leads the Trojans in scoring at 16.4 points per contest. Richard Chaney is second on the team in scoring at 15.2 and leads the team in rebounding at 7.5. Sammy Sharp is the conference's top shot swatter with 51 blocks this season and is second on the team in rebounding at 7.0. The Trojans have a diversified scoring attack with six players averaging double-figures in all.
The Trojans have dropped three of their last four and four of their last six, with victories over ASU and Denver at home in that stretch. Most recently, Troy fell in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe on the road.
Troy will face North Texas at The Super Pit before its meeting with FAU.
Both games can be heard on WMEN 640-AM. Lance Davis will call the action for Wednesday's game against Arkansas State and Dave LaMont will handle the microphone for Saturday's contest against Troy.