Dec. 26, 2005
The Florida Atlantic men's basketball team (3-5) returns from Christmas break to play in the friendly confines of FAU Arena this week.
On Thursday, Dec. 29th, the Owls host Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY) in the first ever meeting between the two programs. The break and the opportunity to play at home should give new life to road-weary FAU, which is 3-0 in Boca Raton and 0-5 when playing north of Yamato Road.
The Owls tasted defeat twice last week at the Billy Minardi Classic in Louisville, KY. In the opening round game, FAU lost to the College of Charleston, 90-73, and then fell to Middle Tennessee State in the consolation game, 90-76.
Those two losses, added to the Dec. 15th defeat at USF, have the Owls on a three-game losing streak after victories in three consecutive outings at home.
First year head coach Matt Doherty continues to see improvement in his team's performances, with several highlights coming from the tournament.
The Owls shot a season high 50.8% from the field against Middle Tennessee State.
DeAndre Rice bounced back from back-to-back single-digit scoring games to average 19.0 points and shoot 51.7% from the field.
Quinton Young scored a season high 14 points against the College of Charleston and shot seven of 11 from 3-point range in the two games.
Brent Crews tallied 11 assists to just four turnovers during the trip.
Rice continues to lead FAU at 17.3 points per game. Rodney Webb is contributing 14.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Brent Crews adds 8.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while leading the team in assists (35) and steals (15).
Marist (4-4) comes into the game on a two-game winning streak with victories over St. John's (56-53) and St. Bonaventure (69-51). The Red Foxes have split four road games this year.
Losses for Marist include NCAA tournament regulars Seton Hall (75-72), Manhattan College (90-79) and Iona (79-76).
Center James Smith will be an area of focus on the defensive end for FAU. The 7'0" junior is averaging 13.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and has a solid shooting touch outside the paint, knocking down six three-pointers on the year and hitting 75.9% of his free throws; he also has 15 blocks.
The Red Foxes are led by guard Jared Jordan's 16.0 points per game, 51 assists and 15 steals. The junior also collects 5.0 rebounds per game.
Marist will be the final opponent of 2005 for FAU and the final non-conference foe of the season as the Owls jump into the full Atlantic Sun schedule on Jan. 2 at Kennesaw St.