Owls Return Home to Face Trojans in First Sun Belt Conference Opener
Coach Walters feels FAU's defense will have to step up to earn a win against Troy.

Coach Walters feels FAU's defense will have to step up to earn a win against Troy.

Dec. 12, 2006

  Weekly Coach's Report

BOCA RATON, FL - The Florida Atlantic University men's basketball team will try to build off a 2-0 home record when the team returns to FAU Arena to face Sun Belt Conference foe Troy on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The game will be the first Sun Belt Conference match-up in FAU's history after joining the league this season following 11 years in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

FAU (3-5) had a three-game winning streak snapped by UCF last week in Orlando, as the team couldn't overcome a poor shooting night or foul trouble. The Owls held a lead late in the first-half, but the Golden Knights finished the frame on a 14-3 run to take a 10-point halftime lead and never looked back. FAU had won each of the last two meetings with UCF.

"Your going to have nights like that (against UCF), but your going to have to find a way, make a way, and we didn't do that, and that was the most disappointing part," head coach Rex Walters said.

Paul Graham led the Owls in scoring for the sixth time this season, and continues to lead the team at 16.6 points per game. He also leads the team with 34 assists and his 3.1 rebounds per contest rank third on the squad. Carlos Monroe ranks second on the team in scoring (15.1 ppg) and leads the team in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and newcomer Avery Holley is averaging 9.7 points through his first three contests.

The Trojans, in just their second season as a Sun Belt Conference member, finished last year at 14-15, 6-9 in conference action. They advanced to the second round of the conference tournament, falling victim to an overtime buzzer-beater by Louisiana-Lafayette.

Troy (5-5) has played well in its last three games, despite going 1-2. They once again fell victim to a buzzer beater to foil a comeback attempt at Bowling Green (OH), 71-69 and dropped a 102-90 decision to Drake to open the Drake Regency Classic but fought for an 84-81 win over Northern Illinois in the consolation game.

O'Darien Bassett has scored 45 points in the Trojans last two games and Richard Chaney has added 34 points of his own in those two games. Basset leads the team at 20.1 ppg while Chaney is second on the team in both scoring (16.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg). Sammy Sharp leads the team in rebounding at 7.7 per contest and leads the Sun Belt in blocks with 24 (2.4/game). The Trojans' top two threats from deep are Bassett (29-for-64, 37.5 percent) and Jerome Odem (19-for-46, 41.3 percent).

"Defensively we will have to be a lot better, because they can do some things offensively," Walters said. "We're going to have to handle a lot of pressure because they do like to press and get into people. Their zone is very active so we've got to attack it and get the ball to our inside players."

FAU was 7-4 all-time in conference openers while in the A-Sun. The Owls are 3-14 all-time against the Trojans, also a formerm member of the Atlantic Sun. FAU won the last meeting between the two teams, 82-80, on February 6, 2005 in Troy, AL.

Tip-off against Troy is scheduled for 7 p.m., with FAU Arena doors opening at 6 p.m.

Season tickets are still available for FAU men's and women's basketball. Fans can also purchase individual game tickets ($10 general admission for adults, $7 for youth/seniors) or as a group ($5/ticket for groups of 15 or more). Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster, on FAUsports.com, at the FAU Box Office located next to the Tom Oxley Athletic Center on the Boca Raton campus, or by calling 1-866-FAU-Owls. Tickets will also be available in the lobby of FAU Arena once doors open.

There is no charge for parking during FAU men's and women's basketball games.

Fans can also join both Coach Walters and women's basketball Head Coach Chancellor Dugan on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 at noon at Cucina D'Angelo, located in the Boca Center for the second basketball luncheon of the season. Both coaches will be open for questions and will discuss both past and future games. The cost is $20 per person. RSVP to Shelly Binegar at 561-297-0408 or owlclub@fau.edu.

FAU fans will also enjoy several promotions for Wednesday's game. During any FAU home basketball game between now and Christmas (December 25), if you bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots you will receive $2 off admission to the game.

Wednesday's are also "Take a Kid to the Game" days. Kids receive free admission with the purchase of an adult ticket. As always, at all home games basketball youth league members will be able to purchase their tickets for only $1.00 if they wear their league jersey to the game.

If you have a few more names on your gift list this holiday season, take a look at Pepsi's Sun Belt Basketball Power Pack. Choose any four men's and any four women's Sun Belt Conference games for just $40 and you will receive a year's supply of Pepsi product per order. In addition, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a dual LCD portable DVD player. For more information about the Pepsi Sun Belt Basketball Power Pack call 1-866-FAU-Owls or log on to FAUsports.com.

 

 

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