Feb. 10, 2008
LONGWOOD (6-21) @ FLORIDA ATLANTIC (11-14)
February 11, 2008 - The FAU Arena (5,000)
Boca Raton, Florida - 7:00 p.m.
GAME #26: Florida Atlantic (11-14) will play four of their last six regular-season games at home, which includes Monday night's meeting with Longwood (6-21), an independent team from Farmville, Virginia. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the FAU Arena. The Owls are riding a six-game home winning-streak and have won four straight overall.
THE SERIES: Florida Atlantic leads the all-time series 1-0. FAU defeated Longwood 81-63 last season in Farmville. Owls forward Carlos Monroe had 21 points and 12 rebounds in that game, with Jeff Parmer adding 16, shooting 7-of-9 from the floor. Paul Graham III added three three-point baskets and the Owls controlled the glass, out-rebounding the Lancers 45-28.
TV/RADIO/INTERNET: All FAU games this season will air live on commercial radio WMEN - 640 AM. Additional audio links to WMEN's radio broadcasts are accessible via Florida Atlantic University's official athletics website (FAUSPORTS.com). FAUSPORTS.com provides live scoring for all FAU home games via GAMETRACKER.
Rex Walters (2nd YEAR): Coach Rex Walters (Kansas '93) joined the FAU staff on April 20, 2005 and one year and eight days later he was promoted from associate head coach to become a head coach for the first time in his coaching career. In his first season at the helm (2006-07), Walters guided Florida Atlantic to its second-consecutive winning season. It marked the first time FAU posted back-to-back winning campaigns since the team enjoyed three straight years of .500-plus basketball from 1989-90 to 1991-92. Walters guided the Owls to 10 Sun Belt Conference wins a year ago, the third-most for a first-year Sun Belt member. The team also scored 2,321 points, the most in FAU history. As associate head coach under Matt Doherty in 2005-06, Walters helped the Owls close its tenure in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 15-13 overall record and the program's best conference record at 14-6. Prior to Florida Atlantic, Walters' first collegiate coaching job came at Valparaiso, a two-year stint as an assistant under Homer Drew. His coaching career began in 2002-03 in Overland Park, Kansas, where he served as an assistant coach for the Blue Valley Northwest High School team that reached the Kansas Class 6A State Tournament. Walters' pedigree for coaching began as a player, receiving tutelage from some of the game's legendary coaches. Roy Williams at the University of Kansas and the NBA's Chuck Daly, Larry Brown and Pat Riley all mentored Walters during his years as a player.
RESURGENT OWLS MOVE TO 6-7 IN SUN BELT PLAY: Paul Graham III had 18 points and four of his teammates reached double figures in scoring leading Florida Atlantic past visiting Arkansas State 87-81 at the FAU Arena in Boca Raton Saturday night. It was the sixth win in seven games for a resurgent Owl team that moved to 6-7 in Sun Belt Conference play after starting the year 1-7 overall. Florida Atlantic (11-14) raced out to a 19-5 lead and never trailed. Jeff Parmer and Carlos Monroe each had 11 first-half points allowing FAU a ten-point advantage at the break, 42-32. Ryan Wedel finished with 23 points for the visiting Indians (9-15), who have lost four straight. With FAU leading 78-68 with 3:03 remaining, FAU junior guard Carderro Nwoji made one of the Owl's eight three-point baskets to seemingly put the game out of reach. Nwoji, a junior transfer from Redlands College in Kansas, has started every game for an FAU team that used 10 different starting lineups in the first 16 games of the year. The Indians did stage a late rally. Fueled by a pair of three-pointers by Wedel, ASU closed the gap to 83-77 with 1:47 on the clock. But they were unable to complete the comeback, losing for the eleventh time in twelve tries this year on the road.
A QUICK LOOK AT LONGWOOD: The Lancers (6-21) enter Monday's game with FAU after dropping a 69-66 overtime decision at home to Savannah State on Saturday night. FAU defeated that same Savannah State team 94-68 February 2nd in Boca Raton. Prior to the weekend loss, the Lancers had knocked off NJIT on the road, 78-68, and picked up a home win over Southern Virginia, 102-73, to post back-to-back wins for the first time since early November. 5th-year head coach Mike Gillian (5th-year) receives a team-high 17 points per night from 6-6 junior forward Kirk Williams.
NEXT UP: On Saturday, February 16 at 8:05 p.m. ET, Florida Atlantic will play division leading South Alabama (20-4; 12-1 SBC) in Mobile. South Alabama defeated FAU 66-55 in Boca Raton on January 2nd. The Owls trailed by just three points at the half, 32-29, in that game, but the Jags overcame a poor shooting night by team-leader Demetric Bennett to pick up the road win. JC transfer Dominic Tilford came off the bench to score 20 points. The Jags enter the week with a perfect 12-0 record at home this season and are battling Western Kentucky for regular-season Sun Belt Conference Championship and rights to the top seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Postseason Tournament.
SIX STRAIGHT AT HOME: The Owls have run off six straight at home and own a 8-2 record in designated home games this season (7-2 overall at FAU Arena). FAU upped its Sun Belt Conference home record to 5-1 when they defeated Arkansas State 87-81 on Saturday night. Last season FAU was 11-2 at "The Burrow," winning all four non-conference home games and posting an impressive 7-2 mark against the Sun Belt.
SCORING EFFICIENCY: Spanning FAU's last seven games (six of which were wins) FAU has averaged 81.7 points per night. FAU is 5-0 this season when scoring 80 points or more. During this recent stretch of success the Owls have attempted on average, 6 fewer shots than their opponents, and are shooting 50.8% from the floor.
WINNING CLOSE GAMES: FAU is 8-5 in games this season decided by six points or less. Additionally, the Owls won its only overtime game of the year thus far, edging Denver 70-68 on Jan. 24th - a game played at nearby Lynn University (the game was moved due to scheduling conflicts with the 2008 Florida Republican Debates, which were held on the FAU campus that same night).
DOUBLE UP: FAU 6-foot-8 junior forward Carlos Monroe (Philadelphia, PA) has ten double-doubles this season. The Sun Belt's leading rebounder (9.2 rpg) also scores 16.2 points per night. His 17 points Saturday night against Arkansas State marked the seventh straight game and ninth time in ten outings he has reached double-figures in scoring.
10-7 IN LAST 17 OUTINGS: Dating back to Dec. 8th FAU has gone 10-7 in their last 17 outings, including winning seven of nine heading into Monday's game with Longwood. To ensure off season arena renovations would be completed in time, all seven of FAU's November games this season were played away from home. In turn, FAU opened the season 1-7.
Carlos Monroe REACHES 1,000-POINT PLATEAU: FAU junior forward Carlos Monroe scored 24 points against Denver on January 24 to become the sixth 1,000-point scorer in FAU history. Monroe passed Mike Bell with his performance and now stands in fifth place all-time on the career points list at FAU. Monroe has a chance to pass Damon Arnette for fourth place all time before the end of the season. Arnette scored 1,246 points in his FAU career.
FEELING A DRAFT: Former Owl guard DeAndre Rice became the first FAU player ever selected in the NBDL Draft on 11/01/07. Last year's team scoring leader was chosen 46th overall by the Tulsa 66ers with the fourth pick in the fourth round. The 66ers are the primary affiliate for three NBA clubs - the Dallas Mavericks, the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks.
WORKING ON NEXT YEAR: Rex Walters has announced the letter of intent signings of two new players for the 2008-09 season. FAU signed six-foot-six forward Dago Pena from Punta Gorda, FL. Pena averaged nearly 16 points and six rebounds a game as a junior. He was named class 5-A third-team all-state in Florida last year, and is a top 100 prospect in the nation according to Slam Magazine. The Owls also signed six-foot-two guard Shavon Shine from DeSoto High School in Arcadia, FL. Shine averaged 18 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals in his junior season. He was named to the Florida class 4-A honorable mention all-state team, and was named Charlotte Sun-Herald first team all-area. Both Shine and Pena are currently teammates on the highly respected Florida Rams AAU team.
20TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON: The 2007-08 season marks the 20th year of Florida Atlantic basketball. The Owls have enjoyed seven winning seasons in that time, including the last two campaigns under Matt Doherty and Rex Walters, respectively. The Owls posted an all-time best 21-7 record in 1989-90. The Owls made the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002.
MONROE FOR PRESIDENT: Carlos Monroe began the 2007-08 campaign with big expectations and a groundswell of support from Sun Belt coaches. After earning second-team All-Sun Belt honors a year ago, Monroe was the only player promoted to the conference's first team this preseason. The junior is currently ranked among the elite in scoring (16.1) and field goal percentage (52.5%). Monroe leads the conference in rebounding at 9.3 a game. ONE SHINING MOMENT: FAU is seeking its second-ever NCAA tournament appearance this season. The Owls earned their only previous invitation with an automatic berth as Atlantic Sun champions in 2001-02. As a 15 seed, FAU pushed second-seeded Alabama to the brink in a hard-fought 86-78 first round loss. The Crimson Tide, possibly staggered by that stern test, fell to eventual Elite 8 "Cinderella" Kent State in a 71-58 final in the second round.
SHOOTING FOR THREE: Last February's win over South Alabama clinched a winning regular season for FAU for the second-consecutive year. The Owls are now trying to finish the 2007-08 season strong in attempt to string together three winning seasons for the first time since the program moved to D-I in 1995-96. FAU had three consecutive winning campaigns from 1989-90 to 1991-92 in Division II.
ONE SHINING MOMENT: FAU is seeking its second-ever NCAA tournament appearance this season. The Owls earned their only previous invitation with an automatic berth as Atlantic Sun champions in 2001-02. As a 15 seed, FAU pushed second-seeded Alabama to the brink in a hard-fought 86-78 first round loss. The Crimson Tide, possibly staggered by that stern test, fell to eventual Elite 8 "Cinderella" Kent State in a 71-58 final in the second round.