Feb. 21, 2006
BOCA RATON, FL - For the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team, it comes down to this weekend in the chase for the Atlantic Sun Conference title.
The Owls (13-12, 12-6 A-Sun) take the trip up I-95 to battle North Florida (6-21, 3-16 A-Sun) and Jacksonville (1-25, 1-18 A-Sun) with the goal of ending the regular season with four straight wins. Two victories would guarantee FAU no worse than a fourth seed for the conference tournament.
The regular season crown and the top seed for the tournament are still in FAU's reality. Frontrunners Belmont and Lipscomb (both 13-5 A-Sun) will face Kennesaw State and East Tennessee State (12-6) this weekend and with Gardner-Webb (12-6) joining the pack, five teams are within one game of first place.
Rodney Webb, the conference Player of the Week, will be looked to for his leadership on the court. One of four seniors, Webb scored a career-high 30 points in last Thursday's 93-87 win over ETSU and shot 82.6% from the field for the week.
The Owls came back this past Saturday to shoot a season-high 69.6% from the field. Webb scored 24 points in the win and shot a career-best 10-of-11 from the field.
DeAndre Rice continues to pace the team with 16.6 points per game. Webb adds 15.7 points and a team-best 7.9 rebounds per game.
North Florida Preview
North Florida, in its first season at the Division I level, has lost six straight and eight of nine. Those losses include three consecutive at home.
UNF is not eligible for the conference tournament this season and will not gain eligibility until the 2009-2010 season. Despite their record, the Ospreys have shown to be a sizable challenge for visiting squads, taking Stetson and Mercer to the limit before bowing out in overtime and by six points, respectively.
FAU experienced the best of UNF on Nov. 30 at FAU Arena, holding the lead for the final 17:01 of the game in the 77-75 decision. The Owls overcame an eight-point deficit, their largest comeback of the year in which they recorded a victory.
Webb put a double-double into the stat book, while Rice had 22 points. Chris Timberlake topped UNF with 17.
JU carries the nation's longest losing streak at 23-consecutive games. The Dolphins' lone win this year came against the Ospreys 88-71 in the second week of the season.
JU has proven to be capable of more than just that one win, especially at home. The hosts took Mercer to OT before falling by three and were on the road on Dec. 4 when they fell in double overtime, 107-104.
Webb, Rice and Paul Graham all surpassed the 20-point plateau. Aubrey Conerly scored 32 points, the highest individual total against the Owls this season.
The Owls tip with UNF on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:00 p.m. and hit the court with Jacksonville on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3:00 p.m.