Carderro Nwoji, Florida Atlantic's 5-foot-10 junior floor-leader immediately established himself as one of the top point guards in the Sun Belt Conference this season. Bryan Parker Photo
Feb. 27, 2008
FAU (13-16; 7-9 SBC) @ TROY (11-16; 4-12 SBC)
February 27, 2008 - The Trojan Arena (4,000)
Troy, Alabama - 7:30 p.m. CT
GAME # 30: Florida Atlantic University will play the Troy Trojans Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. CT in Troy, Alabama. FAU scored a then-season-high 93 points in a five-point win (93-88) over the Trojans in Boca Raton on Jan. 12. Florida Atlantic has won 8-of-11 and currently holds sole possession of eighth place in the Sun Belt Conference standings, which would allow the Owls a home game in the upcoming 13-team SBC postseason tournament beginning March 5.
THE SERIES: Troy leads the all-time series 5-15. The two teams have played at least twice annually since 1998-98. FAU is just 2-9 at Trojan Arena. FAU lost, 92-87, in overtime at Troy last season. FAU has won 3-of-4 versus, including the past two in Boca Raton, 91-87, last year and earlier this season, 92-88.
TV/RADIO/INTERNET: All FAU games this season will air live on commercial radio WMEN - 640 AM. Ken LaVicka (play-by-play) will call Wednesday's game at Troy. Additional audio links to WMEN's radio broadcasts are accessible via Florida Atlantic University's official athletics website (FAUSPORTS.com).
COACH WALTERS (2ND YEAR): Florida Atlantic head coach Rex Walters (Kansas '93) joined the Owls 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.
FAU AT A GLANCE: Florida Atlantic (13-16; 7-9 SBC) rebounded from a midweek loss to FIU by knocking off Middle Tennessee State, 75-67, at the FAU Arena Saturday night. Carlos Monroe scored 21 points and had a career-high 17 rebounds for an Owl team that needed the win to keep its hopes alive of hosting a first-round Sun Belt Conference tournament game. The Owls improved to 10-3 at home this season, where they finish the regular season with a 7 p.m. ET date with Western Kentucky on Saturday. Monroe ranks first among all Sun Belt players in rebounding (9.3) and sixth in scoring average (15.8). His 21 point, 17 rebound effort against MTSU on Saturday was his 11th double-double of the season.
QUICK LOOK AT TROY: Troy (11-16; 4-12 SBC) averages over 2,000 fans per game at the Trojan Arena, where they are 9-5 this season, 3-5 in the SBC. Troy snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Florida International, 66-59, on the road Saturday. They score 77.2 points per night (2nd-best in the SBC) and have attempted 858 three-pointers this season, nearly 200 more than any other team in the league. O'Darien Bassett leads the team and ranks fourth in the SBC with a scoring average of 17.4 points per game.
PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME: The Owls are 5-2 thus far in the month of February and have won 8-of-11 dating back to Jan. 19. FAU has rebounded from a 1-7 overall start and a 0-5 conference beginning to push its record to 13-16 and 7-9 in league play.
PARMER KEY IN FAU'S RECENT SUCCESS: Spanning FAU's last six games senior forward Jeff Parmer leads the team in scoring (15.3), has connected on 9-of-16 (56%) of his three-point attempts and is 27-of-33 from the foul line (81%).
IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY THE SBC SEEDS WOULD BE:
1. South Alabama
4. Middle Tennessee
5. North Texas
7. New Orleans
8. Florida Atlantic
10. Florida International
13. Arkansas State
OWL CLUB COACHES' BREAKFAST: Join Owls head coach Rex Walters Friday, February 29 at 8 a.m. for the Dunkin' Donuts Coaches' Breakfast in the Founders Room at FAU's Oxley Center. Both coach Walters and head women's basketball coach Chancellor Dugan will provide insight into their teams, this weekend's games and the upcoming Sun Belt Conference postseason tournament. A complimentary breakfast will be provided courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts. All Owl Club members are encouraged to attend. For more information about FAU's Owl Club please visit FAU's official athletics website (FAUSPORTS.com) or call 1-866-FAU-OWLS.
10-3 AT HOME: FAU is 10-3 overall at home this season (6-2 vs. SBC). The Owls had a seven-game home winning-streak snapped by FIU last week, which included six straight at "The Burrow." FAU's Jan. 24 game with Denver was moved to nearby Lynn University due to the Republican National Debates being held on FAU's campus that same night.
PLAYING AND 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, Jan. 24.
LEAGUE'S PREMIER POST PLAYER: Carlos Monroe, the 6-foot-8 forward pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds and scored 21 points to lead FAU to a 75-67 victory over Middle Tennessee State Saturday night. It was Monroe's 11th double-double of the season. Monroe averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds spanning a pair of games last week. He continues to be one of the league's premier post players, shooting 52% from the floor and leading the conference in rebounding (9.3 rpg). A Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference player a year ago, he has lived up to his billing as a preseason First Team All-Sun Belt pick for 2007-08. Monroe ranks first among all Sun Belt players in rebounding (9.3) and sixth in scoring (15.8).
MONROE CANDIDATE FOR SBC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: The league's top rebounder, Carlos Monroe is the only Sun Belt player to rank in the top six in both scoring (15.8) and rebounding (9.3 rpg). Monroe shoots an outstanding 52% from the field. 11 times in 16 Sun Belt games Monroe has scored 15 points or more. Four different times versus Sun Belt teams he has pulled down 13+ rebounds. Some of his top games this year... Monroe scored 24 points against both Troy (1/12/08) and Denver (1/24/08). 14 rebounds and 15 points against Arkansas State (12/20/07). Had a career night (21 points and 17 rebounds) against Middle Tennessee State this past weekend.
A TRANSFER OF LEADERSHIP: Carderro Nwoji, Florida Atlantic's 5-foot-10 junior floor-leader has immediately established himself as one of the top point guards in the Sun Belt Conference this season. Nwoji has dished out 107 assists (3.7 apg) and has scored 290 points (10.0 ppg) as a first-year Division I player after transferring from Kansas' Redlands CC this offseason. Nwoji has been even better against Sun Belt Conference, scoring 11.2 ppg and passing out 3.6 apg in 34.8 minutes per night spanning 16 SBC games. He shoots nearly 40% from 3-point range, making 30-of-79 attempts thus far in 2007-08. He is 3rd in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.64). Has reached double-figures in scoring in five of FAU's last seven contests. Top statistical SBC games include a season and career-high 25 points at Arkansas State (12/20/07). He distributed seven assists vs. South Alabama (1/2/08) and had a seven rebound 11-point night against Arkansas State (2/8/08) at home.
BENCH PRODUCTION: If the Sun Belt had a sixth-man of the year award Florida Atlantic's junior guard Paul Graham III would be an easy choice. Graham scores 13.2 points per night, reaching double-figures in scoring 14 times in 21 games played this season. Graham has made 48% of his field goal attempts against Sun Belt Conference opponents. Spanning FAU's last eight conference games (five of which were wins), Graham has scored on average 13.3 points, shooting 52% from the floor and 42% from three-point range. Graham scored 20 points vs. Troy (1/12/08) and 18 against both Arkansas State (2/8/08) and Florida International (2/20/08).
PARMER MAKING MOST OF SENIOR SEASON: FAU's senior forward Jeff Parmer has averaged 10.5 points per night and 5.1 rebounds against league opponents this season. He has scored 14+ points in each of FAU's last five Sun Belt games. He is one of the best three-point shooters in the league, ranking third among all players in three-point shooting percentage, making good on 45% of his attempts against the SBC. He matched a season-high with an 18-point performance at Louisiana-Monroe (2/6/08). Put up 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in FAU's recent home victory over Middle Tennessee State (2/23/08). Parmer had 12 points and 10 rebounds against North Texas (1/19/08). He has scored 12.4 points per game on 53% shooting from the field and 52% shooting from three-point range during a stretch that has seen FAU win 8-of-11 since Jan. 19.
ALL GROWN UP: Florida Atlantic's 6-foot-4 freshman guard Sanchez Hughley emerged as a fixture in the Owls' starting lineup in early January, The Seminole County, Florida, native has posted double-figures in scoring four different times against Sun Belt competition. He has scored 162 points in his first collegiate season, averaging 7.1 ppg in league play. Scored a season and career-high 18 points at Louisiana-Monroe (2/6/08). Has six double-figure scoring nights on the year. Has started in 14 consecutive games.
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.
SUN BELT TOURNAMENT TIE-BREAKER: Every team in the Sun Belt Conference receives a berth into the league's postseason tournament. The top eight teams are either granted a first round bye (automatically advancing to the quarterfinals March 9 in Mobile) or a first round home game (held at the respective home venue on the night of March 5). Below is a breakdown of the conference tie-braking system:
Top three teams receive a first round bye. Division winners guaranteed the 1 and 2 seeds. The next best team is the 3 seed and also gets a bye.
Two-team tie-breaker: (1) head to head. If still tied... (2) record against team's division winner. If still tied... (3) record against second-place in team's division. If still tied... (3) record against third-place in the division... and so on.
Three-team tie-breaker: (1) record against all involved teams. If still tied... (2) record against team's division winner. If still tied... (3) record against second-place in team's division. If still tied... (3) record against third-place in the division... and so on.