Nov. 6, 2006
BOCA RATON, FL -- The 2006-07 regular season is on the horizon for the Florida Atlantic University men's basketball team. Rex Walters will make his regular-season debut as a head coach after picking up an 87-70 exhibition win on November 2 versus Florida Tech.
FAU opens with five non-conference games on the road to start the season. The Owls return to the site of perhaps the biggest win in program history, when Florida Atlantic faces-off against the Cowboys of Oklahoma State in Stillwater, OK on November 10 in the season opener. The game will be broadcast as part of the ESPN Full Court package.
"We are very excited about officially starting our season," Head Coach Rex Walters said. "Oklahoma State is a very talented and well coached team. We are all looking forward to the challenge and then following up with 4 more road games. It will test our toughness very quickly."
The Owls have won the only previous meeting with the Cowboys, dating back to December 1, 1998. FAU faced an unbeaten OSU squad that was ranked in the top-10 and had won 87-consecutive non-conference home contests. Gary Durrant stole an inbounds pass and scored with just four seconds on the clock to give FAU an 83-81 win.
The Cowboys enter the season with a new coach of their own in Sean Sutton. An OSU graduate and son of Eddie Sutton, Sean has been with the Cowboys since the 1993-94 season as an assistant coach. The 38-year old compiled a 5-6 mark as a fill-in for his father during the 2005-06 season.
On the court, Oklahoma State is led by JamesOn Curry, a 6-3 junior guard from Pleasant Grove, N.C. He has been named one of 50 on the preseason watch list for the Wooden Award after averaging 13.5 points per game to go with 132 assists and shooting .376 from behind the arc in 33 starts during his sophomore season.
"Sean was a tough minded player and he coaches the same way. OSU plays tough man-to-man defense, have strong inside players who work and rebound, and a very talented and athletic backcourt. JamesOn Curry is a very skilled and talented scoring guard for them. They set a lot of screens for him, but he has the ability to put the ball on the floor and create his own shot. He creates a very difficult match-up for us," Walters said.
Senior Mario Boggan serves as the Cowboy's main inside threat. The 6-7, 240 lb senior started 33 games last season, leading the team with 14.8 points per contest and shooting 58 percent from the floor. He does have outside range, making nine three-pointers as well, and shot 82 percent from the free-throw line. He also led the team in rebounding, averaging 5.7 boards per game.
Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m., eastern.
Following the season opener with the Cowboys, the Owls head to Kansas City, MO to face the Kangaroos of UMKC.
UMKC placed three on the Mid-Con Preseason Team. Senior Quinton Day was named a first team member, while senior Dee Ayuba and junior Tim Blackwell were named second team honorees.
Day was a 2005-06 First Team All-Mid-Con selection, scoring 20.3 points per game, including 81 three-pointers, to go with a school record 130 assists and 76 steals.
Ayuba was an Honorable Mention All-Conference selection, scoring 14.3 points per game and grabbing 6.7 rebounds while making 28 starts and shooting 51 percent from the floor.
Blackwell led the Mid-Con in free throw percentage in 2005-06, shooting 85 percent from the stripe. He holds the school record for career free throw percentage at .860. He scored 11.4 points per contest last season while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 39 percent from behind the arc.
"UMKC is also a talented team led by a pair of dynamic guards. Quinton is a player that can score it in a lot of ways and Blackwell is a talented shooter with a good feel for the game," Walters said.
FAU and UMKC have never met. The two teams will face-off twice this year, with scheduled meetings for November 13 in Kansas City and December 23 in Boca Raton.
Crews finished his junior campaign with 133 assists and was credited with six assists in FAU's exhibition game. He added nine points on 3-of-7 shooting, including a trey, and a 2-for-2 effort from the charity stripe against Florida Tech.
Monroe was a member of the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman squad in 2005-06 and is Florida Atlantic's biggest inside offensive threat. The sophomore was 8-of-12 from the floor in FAU's exhibition game and added a 7-for-10 effort from the free throw line, giving him a game-high 23 points to go with his game-high 15 rebounds. The Philadelphia native added a block, two assists and two steals as well. He averaged 11.0 points and 4.6 rebounds over 17 games in 2005-06.
Florida Atlantic enters the Sun Belt Conference in 2006-07 after a 15-13 campaign last season. FAU posted a 14-6 Atlantic Sun conference record last season, the program's highest win total in conference play.
Fans can join Coach Walters and women's basketball Head Coach Chancellor Dugan at the first basketball luncheon of 2006-07 on Tuesday, November 7 at noon at Cucina D'Angelo located in the Boca Center. The cost is $20 per person. RSVP to Shelley Binegar at 561-297-0408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.