Mike Jarvis leads the Owls into its Sun Belt home-opener Thursday
Dec. 30, 2008
SOUTH ALABAMA (8-5) @ FLORIDA ATLANTIC (4-9)
Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009 - FAU Arena (5,000)
Boca Raton, FL - 2:15 p.m. ET
GAME #14: Florida Atlantic (4-9; 0-2 Sun Belt) returns to the FAU Arena for just the second time in its last 10 games, playing Sun Belt rival South Alabama (8-5; 1-1 Sun Belt) on New Year's Day, January 1. The game is the second half of a double-header between the two school's women's teams. Tip-off for the men's game is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. ET.
THE SERIES: USA leads the all-time series 3-1 and won both meetings last season. USA won 66-55 at the FAU Arena on Jan. 2 of last season and 91-74 in Mobile on Feb. 16. FAU defeated USA 79-69 at the FAU Arena two seasons ago. FAU plays USA in Mobile on Saturday, February 14. The teams have split the two games at FAU Arena.
TV/RADIO/INTERNET: All of FAU's regular-season games (home and away) will air on live commercial radio WFTL - 640 AM with additional audio links available via FAUSPORTS.com. Evan Cohen (play-by-play) will call the game for WFTL on Thursday. GAMETRACKER will also be provided on FAUSPORTS.com.
# Mike Jarvis (367-211 all-time) is in his 1st year as FAU head coach
# FAU is coming off a 76-69 loss at UK in front of 24,018 at Rupp Arena
# FAU is 3-0 at home this year and 35-7 at home in the past 3 seasons
# The Owls have began the year playing 10-of-13 on the road
# The game features two of the league's top-three scorers in FAU G Paul Graham III (17.1 ppg) and USA G Domonic Tilford (18.6 ppg)
# Graham is coming off a sensational 31-point performance at UK
# Preseason mid-major All-America forward Carlos Monroe (12.5 ppg/6.0 rpg) will be playing in his fifth game since missing the first nine to start the season
# South Alabama has won two-straight Sun Belt regular season titles and was a No. 10 seed in the 2008 NCAA Tournament
# The Jaguars are 2-3 on the road, beating FIU 62-57 in Miami Dec. 20
# USA leads the league in FG% (47.6) and assists (15.1 apg), ranks second in blocks (4.8 bpg) and rebounding margin +8.8 pg
# FAU freshman G Shavar Richardson made a season-high 4 3s at UK
# Richardson is on pace to approach FAU's freshmen record for 3-point makes in a season (63 by Jeff Cowans in 2000-01).
# FAU is trying to avoid an 0-3 start vs. SBC for second-straight season (0-5 start vs. SBC last year)
# The Owls had started the season 3-1 for the first time in its 15-year Division I history but have since lost 8 of 9
# In its next three SBC games, FAU is facing arguably the league's top three teams
# UP NEXT: FAU plays a non-conference game at Miami in Coral Gables, Monday Jan. 5.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC: FAU (4-9) will play on its home floor for the first time since December 13 and for just the fourth time all season when they host South Alabama New Year's Day. Commenting on FAU's road-heavy schedule, "I forgot what it was like to play at home," sophomore Brett Royster said in a radio interview last week. "Going back home is always a good thing and always fun," said Paul Graham III after the game at UK. "That's the best thing for any team, so returning home will be uplifting for us." Graham, one of the league's top scorers, and senior classmates G Carderro Nwoji and F Carlos Monroe are hoping to lead FAU to its first Sun Belt win of the year. FAU has started the league schedule 0-2 with losses at Denver 66-55 on December 16 and at Troy 94-87 December 18. The Owls are 3-0 at home and will play SBC rivals Western Kentucky and FIU at the FAU Arena in the coming weeks. FAU turned in a spirited performance in a 76-69 loss at UK on Monday, prompting some of the 24,018 in attendance at Rupp Arena to applaud the Owls' for their effort as they left the court.
SOUTH ALABAMA: The Jaguars (8-5) and head coach Ronnie Arrow receive a league-leading 18.6 points per game from senior G Domonic Tilford. USA was 16-2 against the Sun Belt last year en route to finishing 26-7 and receiving an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. This year's USA squad ranks 31st among all NCAA teams in 3-point shooting % (38.3) and 24th in rebounding margin (+8.8). They also lead the league in FG% (47.6) and assists (15.1 apg). The Jaguars are averaging 74 points per game but have scored 66 or less in each of its last three against DI opponents. A 62-57 win at FIU and a 69-66 home loss to Western Kentucky preceded a lopsided victory over NAIA member Spring Hill 88-56 on Sunday.
NEXT UP: @ Miami Monday, January 5 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised live on FSN Florida. The Hurricanes (8-3) beat St. John's 70-56 Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Miami also defeated Kentucky earlier in the season 73-67 in Lexington. They will play both North Florida (Dec. 31) and North Carolina Central (Jan. 3) at home before facing FAU.