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Greg Gantt has dropped to seventh in the nation in scoring after consecutive 13-point games. (OwlAccess.com file photo)

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Turn up the offense

FAU coach Mike Jarvis says the best way to prevent late-game collapses is for the Owls to get more offensive.

Originally published on 1/31/2013

by Chuck King

Mike Jarvis believes the solution to stopping FAU's propensity for late-game collapses is to add more offense.

FAU might be too interested in running out the clock and not concerned enough about scoring points. The result has been turnovers and missed shots that have caused the Owls to blow double-digit second-half leads at an amazingly consistent rate.

The next time the Owls find themselves in a situation where they can put the game away, expect Jarvis to make an adjustment.
 
“We just didn't have enough bodies on the court to capitalize when teams start pressing,” he said. “I think we were trying to play a little too conservative.”

Jarvis hopes to show off that newly-found go-for-the-jugular mentality on Thursday when Louisiana-Monroe comes to The Burrow.

Three times this season the Owls' have led by 10 or more points in the second half only to end up losing. One of those came in the first meeting against ULM. On Dec. 29 the Owls led the Warhawks by 10 with 6 minutes to play and by six with a little more than two minutes remaining only to see ULM take the lead on a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining.

Greg Gantt turned the ball over on the Owls' ensuing possession, relegating FAU to a 65-64 loss.

Similar circumstances reappeared in Thursday's loss at Arkansas-Little Rock, where FAU blew a 20-point halftime lead and watched the Trojans take the lead with 1:37 remaining. UALR never led by more than three the rest of the way and the Owls had many chances to tie or take the lead, the last coming when Jarvis told Gantt to call time-out to set up a play in the closing seconds.

“Everyone relaxed. We thought the game was over,” Gantt said about allowing the Trojans back into the game.

The Owls were out of timeouts – the referee didn't grant the timeout, nor did he call a technical foul – and in the confusion Gantt got the ball to Pablo Bertone, who stepped out of bounds. Once again, the Owls never launched a shot.

“It's frustrating but I have faith,” Gantt said. “The season has ups and downs.”

While the current three-game FAU losing streak - which includes a loss to Arkansas St. that Gantt calls “embarrassing” - certainly doesn't qualify as an “up,” Jarvis believes he's getting closer to finding the right combination.

Even though the Owls also struggled to close games last season, Jarvis bristles at the suggestion that he's waited too long to make changes.

“I've never been slow to change - I've been patient to changes.  There's  a big difference,” Jarvis said. “I don't think you can be too patient.”

He also adds that the Owls' current overall situation is not that uncommon.

“I would say that 60 to 70 percent of the college teams in the country are right where we are – right around .500 and trying to figure things out,” Jarvis said.

@
Louisiana-Monroe (3-13, 2-8)
at
FAU (10-12, 5-6 Sun Belt)


About the Warhawks: Monroe's only victories this year came against Southeastern Louisiana, North Texas and FAU. ...The Warhawks have lost five consecutive games. ...ULM has not won on the road this season. ...Amos Olatayo leads ULM with a 14.0 point per game average. He scored only three points against the Owls in the first meeting. ...James Jayon scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Warhawks' victory that night.

About the Owls: Consecutive 13-point outings have dropped Greg Gantt's scoring average to 21.6, falling to seventh in the nation. He scored 26 in the first meeting with Monroe. ...Kelvin Penn has played the majority of the past three games in foul trouble, fouling out of two of them. ...Pablo Bertone scored 19 points in the first meeting against Monroe, with Jordan McCoy adding 16.
 

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