Florida Atlantic (7-14) at Marshall (8-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cam Henderson Center (9,048) -- Huntington, West Virginia. Television: CSS. Home Record: FAU 6-4, MU 7-4. Away Record: FAU 1-10, MU 1-9. Neutral Record: FAU 0-0, MU 0-1. Conference Record: FAU 2-4, MU 2-5. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Marshall Thundering Herd will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since late November when they welcome the Florida Atlantic Owls to the Cam Henderson Center for a Conference USA matchup on Saturday.
The Owls will be concluding a three-game road trip that began with a nine- point loss at FIU last weekend and continued with a 62-53 setback at Charlotte on Thursday. FAU's bench was outscored, 28-6, by the 49ers' reserves in the shortcoming at Halton Arena. The lack of success away from home is nothing new for coach Mike Jarvis's team, which is 1-10 in true road games. FAU had won three of four games, including a 68-53 victory over Harvard, before beginning its trip. The Owls are netting only 64.2 ppg through their first six C-USA games.
Tom Herrion's Thundering Herd bounced back from a 21-point loss at Louisiana Tech on Thursday with an 80-68 victory over FIU at home. The win was the second in three outings for Marshall, which now owns a 8-14 overall record. The Herd are just 2-5 in the league standings and have not been able to establish a consistent starting lineup due to injuries and suspensions. Marshall has been more successful at home, winning seven out of 11 games at the Cam Henderson Center. The Herd have the second highest scoring average among C- USA schools on the season at 77.9 ppg, but have managed to post only 69.1 ppg in league action.
This will be the first meeting in history between FAU and Marshall on the hardwood.
FAU has been held to 60 points or less in three of its last four games. Despite the team's offensive woes, senior guard Pablo Betrone has been playing at a very high level. Betrone poured in 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds and swiped four steals against Charlotte and has knocked down six shots from 3- point range over his last two outings. The 6-foot-4 import from Argentina is clocking a career-high 33.4 minutes per game and pacing FAU with 18.2 ppg, which is nearly double his scoring average from the 2012-13 campaign. Sophomore guard Jackson Trapp is the Owls' second-leading scorer at 10.2 ppg, but he has been held to eight points or less in four consecutive games and shooting only 10-of-29 from the field during that span.
Marshall had the advantage in bench points, 21-8, and from the free-throw line, 16-8, in its triumph over FIU. The Herd are 6-2 when outscoring their opposition at the charity stripe, which has become an emphasis for Herrion. Marshall's rookie tandem continued to shine versus the Panthers. Kareem Canty recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists, while Ryan Taylor contributed 14 points with five rebounds. Chris Thomas stole the show with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor. Canty is netting 16.7 ppg to go along with a 6.6 apg, which is the second highest assists average in the C- USA. Taylor is second among active players on the roster at 14 ppg and Thomas is adding 11.6 ppg in his first season with the program since transferring from the junior college level.
Although Betrone is a solid player, the Owls will have trouble picking up wins if one of his teammates doesn't step up to take some pressure off of him before the season's end. While Marshall is very inexperienced, it seems to finally be meshing well as a unit which could lead to a late season run.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marshall 76, Florida Atlantic 66
02/01 10:14:34 ET