FAU sophomore guard Alex Tucker is averaging 4.4 points per game this season. (FAUOwlAccess Photo)
Coming through in the clutch
UALR @ FAU preview: Owls guard Alex Tucker hopes his game-winning shot vs. MTSU is the first of many big shots he’ll make for FAU
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> Game capsule: Scouting reports, lineups
BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic sophomore guard Alex Tucker may not have been the most likely candidate to take the game-winning shot Saturday at Middle Tennessee State.
Since the 5-foot-11 Tucker made the lay-up with :03 remaining to give the Owls a 61-60 victory over the Blue Raiders, it was obviously a good choice.
“It was the first game-winner I’ve had in college and it was on the road so that made it even more special,” Tucker said,
FAU has no seniors and one of the two juniors on the team – Brett Royster - had fouled out . But on a team dominated by freshman, Tucker was as logical candidate as any to take the shot with game on the line.
“I learned a lot by going through last season,” Tucker said. “I thought back to that experience on Saturday when were down by 11 in the second half. Some of the guys were starting to panic but I just told the guys we had 10 minutes left and that’s plenty of time for us to have a comeback.”
Out of timeouts and down 60-59 with :09 remaining, The Owls didn’t have the luxury to set up a play.
“The coaches were just telling me to push it and I could hear them in my ears yelling ‘get to the basket’,” Tucker said. “I just put head down and drove to the basket and got a pretty good look.”
After making the crucial shot, FAU coach Mike Jarvis is hoping for even more out of Tucker.
“One of the reasons he made the shot is that he deserved to make the shot,” Jarvis said. “Hard work effort eventually leads to good bounces and breaks. Alex has been practicing well and I think that’s why he made that shot.”
Tucker is benefitting from more playing time since FAU switched to a four-guard starting lineup four games ago vs. Troy.
Earlier in the season, it looked like Tucker’s role would be shrinking with the emergence of starting freshman point guard Ray Taylor.
However, Tucker continued to contribute off the bench and is back to being an integral part of the Owls’ gameplan.
“I tried to keep the same attitude even though I had a different role,” Tucker said. “Coach wanted me to come off the bench and I was OK with that. It’s more important who finishes the game than who starts. I didn’t pout or get negative, I just adjusted.”
Game Capsule: Arkansas Little Rock at FAU
Arkansas-Little Rock (5-13, 1-6 Sun Belt)
at FAU (8-10, 4-3)
About the Trojans: UALR is coming off its first Sun Belt Conference victory of the season by defeating Louisiana-Lafayette 76-69 to snap an eight-game losing streak. …Ricky Davison is the top 3-point shooter in the Sun Belt, connecting on 53.5 percent (17-of-23) of his shots behind the arc. …Sophomore Matt Mouzy is back in the starting lineup after having an emergency appendectomy on Jan. 7.
About the Owls: FAU trails in the all-time series 1-3. …FAU has won three of of its last four games….FAU has four players averaging double figures in conference games.
Projected starting lineups
UALR / Head coach Steve Shields
- G Matt Mouzy 6-0 Jr. (10.6 ppg)
- G Alex Garcia-Mendoza 6-3 Jr. (11.7 ppg)
- G Solomon Bozeman 6-0 Jr. (14.4 ppg)
- F Courtney Jackson 6-6 So. (4.4 ppg)
- F Wayne Burton 6-8 Sr. (4.3 ppg)
FAU / Head coach Mike Jarvis
- G Ray Taylor 5-6 Fr. (15.8 ppg)
- G Greg Gantt 6-2 Fr. (14.3 ppg)
- G Sanchez Hughely 6-4 Jr. (9.4 ppg)
- G Alex Tucker 5-11, So. (4.4 ppg)
- F Brett Royster 6-9 Jr. (9.9 ppg)