Florida Atlantic Visits Savannah, Georgia, Hosts MTSU
Carderro Nwoji is one of five FAU seniors to be honored Saturday night

Carderro Nwoji is one of five FAU seniors to be honored Saturday night

Feb. 15, 2009

FLORIDA ATLANTIC (6-21) @ SAVANNAH STATE (12-14)
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Tiger Arena (6,000) - Savannah, GA

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (15-11) @ FLORIDA ATLANTIC
Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009 - 7:00 p.m. ET
FAU Arena (5,000) - Boca Raton, FL

GAMES #28/29: Florida Atlantic travels to Georgia, for a non-conference game against Savannah State Wednesday at 7 p.m. Wednesday's road date with the Tigers - one of four remaining regular season games on the Owls' 2008-09 schedule - will be followed by `Senior Night' at the FAU Arena Saturday, February 21, versus Middle Tennessee State.

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 game for WFTL on Wednesday. Evan Cohen (p-x-p) and Sanchez Hughley (analysis) will describe the action Saturday. Live scoring via GAMETRACKER and a live video feed for Saturday night's game against MTSU can be accessed on FAUSPORTS.com.

GAME NOTES:
# Mike Jarvis (369-223 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 have played with just eight scholarship players for 13-straight games
# FAU is 5-6 at home and 0-14 on the road
# Florida Atlantic beat Savannah State 94-68 last season at the FAU Arena
# Middle Tennessee State beat FAU at the buzzer, 59-57, on January 8th in Murphreesboro
# FAU's five seniors (Paul Graham III, Carlos Monroe, Carderro Nwoji, Sammy Hernandez and Chris Coleman) will be honored before Saturday night's game
# FAU enters the week coming off a 90-71 loss at South Alabama Saturday after beating Denver at home 67-61 last Thursday
# The Owls are 37-14 at the FAU Arena during the past three seasons
# FAU is being outscored by just seven points per night, making its record a bit misleading - losing seven league games by nine points or fewer.
# Saturday's game will feature the Sun Belt's top scorers in FAU senior guard Paul Graham III (18.4 ppg) and MTSU junior forward Desmond Yates (18.0 ppg)
# Graham is scoring 24.0 points per game in FAU's last five making 31-of-33 free throws
# The Owls boast the league's leading scorer: G Paul Graham III (18.4 ppg), top shot-blocker: F/C Brett Royster (2.3 bpg), top freshman scorer: G Shavar Richardson (12.1 ppg) and 2nd-leading assist-man, G Alex Tucker (5.0 apg)
# G Paul Graham III recently moved into 3rd on FAU's all-time scoring list
# Sophomore F/C Brett Royster enters the week with 104 career blocks, needing 15 more to equal FAU's all-time career record for blocked shots. Royster has already established a new FAU single-season record for blocks (63), passing Rahiem Brown who totaled 59 in 2000-01.
# Freshman G Alex Tucker has turned in the second-best single-season assist average (5.0 apg) in school history. Entering the week having distributed 120 this season, he is on pace to equal the school's all-time single-season mark of 145 set by Earnest Crumbley in 2003-04.
# NEXT UP: A pair of Sun Belt road games wraps up Florida Atlantic's regular season schedule next week. A trip to play Western Kentucky (17-8) in Bowling Green Thursday, February 26th will be followed by the team's regular-season finale at FIU (10-17) Saturday, February 28th.

 

 

FLORIDA ATLANTIC: The Owls (6-21; 2-13 SBC) have lost seven league games by nine points or fewer, including a loss at the buzzer to Middle Tennessee State on January 8th. First-year head coach Mike Jarvis is operating with eight available scholarship players and using a seven-man rotation that includes walk-on senior Chris Coleman who was playing in FAU's marching band at this time last year. Despite its lack of depth, the team is competitive night-in and night-out, thanks largely to Paul Graham III's league-best 18.4 points per game. Graham - a 6-foot-5 senior guard from Philadelphia - has scored 33, 25 and 27 in Florida Atlantic's last three games. Graham has seen senior classmate and projected Sun Belt "Player of the Year" Carlos Monroe miss all but six games this year due to injury and eligibility issue. The team is hoping to have Monroe back in the lineup before the season ends. Picking up the slack, Graham has been terrific, scoring 25+ in seven different games. The future seems to be in the hands of the incoming class Jarvis has signed for 2009-10 and the young nucleus of G Shavar Richardson (12.1 points p/g) - the Sun Belt's top freshmen scorer - freshman G Alex Tucker (5.0 assists p/g) and sophomore F/C Brett Royster (2.3 blocks p/g). The Owls are all but assured of playing on the road (No. 13 vs. No. 4 game) in the Sun Belt Conference postseason tournament. Possible first-round opponents include Middle Tennessee State, North Texas and South Alabama.

SAVANNAH STATE: The Tigers (12-14) bring a 10-3 home record into Wednesday night's game with Florida Atlantic. An NCAA Division I Independent, Savannah State consistently plays low-scoring games, averaging 57.0 points per night while giving up 62.7. No player - in what has been a steady starting five - scores in double figures. Savannah State beat Sun Belt member New Orleans 54-44 at Tiger Arena earlier this season and took Michigan into overtime on the road before losing 66-64.

THE SERIES WITH SAVANNAH STATE: Florida Atlantic convincingly beat Savannah State, 94-68, last season at the FAU Arena. The schools have split two previous meetings (in 1988 Savannah State beat FAU on a neutral floor 79-62). Like Wednesday's game, last season's matchup came in the heart of FAU's Sun Belt Conference schedule (February 2, 2008). Paul Graham III was one of five FAU players to score in double figures en route to the 26-point victory. The winning-margin was FAU's largest of the season and came during a stretch where the Owls reeled off five-straight wins.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE: Led by 7th-year head coach Kermit Davis the Blue Raiders (15-11; 8-6 SBC) were picked to win the Sun Belt this season. MTSU has struggled as of late, losing its third-straight league game Saturday, 89-78 to North Texas in Murpreesboro. MTSU will host South Alabama Thursday night before making the trip to South Florida to play FAU. Junior forward Desmond "Boogie" Yates (18.0 ppg) has led the Blue Raiders in scoring 17 times this season and ranks as one of the nation's best in FG% (.595). MTSU ranks among the league's top teams in scoring offense (72.3 ppg) and defense (65.3). MTSU is 4-7 on the road this season, which includes a 2-5 road record versus Sun Belt teams.

THE SERIES WITH MTSU: Demetrius Green's layup with 2.4 seconds left allowed Middle Tennessee State to hold off an upset bid by Florida Atlantic on January 8th, beating the visiting Owls 59-57 in Murfreesboro. A pair of free throws by Florida Atlantic's Paul Graham III had tied the game at 57 with 6 seconds left. With a pair of passes, MTSU broke FAU's full-court press and Green finished off the break by banking-in the game's decisive points. FAU claimed a 75-67 win over MTSU at the FAU Arena last season, February 23, 2008. The Owls are in its third Sun Belt season and have played a home-and-home series with Middle Tennessee State in each of the last two years. Middle Tennessee joined the Sun Belt in 2000-01. The two teams have met a total of six times, with MTSU winning a neutral site, non-conference game in December of 2005. MTSU owns a 5-1 all-time series edge and have won all three meetings in Murfreesboro.

SATURDAY'S GAME PROMOTIONS
First 200 fans will receive a FREE T-shirt provided by Tim Graboski Roofing
First 100 FAU students will receive a voucher good for a FREE hot dog, popcorn or nachos
Bring FAU baseball ticket stub from baseball game February 21 to receive $5 admission at basketball game

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