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Brett Royster is surrounded by WKU defenders as he goes up for a shot in last year's game vs. the Hilltoppers at FAU Arena. (FAUOwlAccess file photo)


They're the Tops

FAU will have its hands full on Thursday when a Western Kentucky team that has found its stride comes to FAU Arena

Originally published on 2/24/2010

by Marcus Nelson

> Preview capsule: Your guide to tonight's game
> Sun Belt standings: Tournament seeding format

BOCA RATON – If FAU wins the Sun Belt Conference East Division championship, it will have earned it with its play this week.

The Owls can finish anywhere from first to seventh in the battle for seedings for next week’s Sun Belt Conference tournament, but it won’t be easy for the Owls to climb the standings – not with Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee providing the opposition this week.

When the Owls play host to the Hilltoppers on Thursday, the FAU will be facing one of the hottest teams in the Sun Belt.
That’s just fine with Owls coach Mike Jarvis.

“If you can beat them it’s great,” Jarvis said. “They are the most talented team and are the favorites again….We’re going to have to play good, just like any time you play them.”

The Owls will need some help to win the division or the No. 3 seed in the tournament which also means an important first-round bye in the tournament. But Jarvis isn’t paying attention to what other teams need to do to help the Owls.

Instead, Jarvis is concentrating on guiding the Owls to victories in the final two games of the season.

“You can’t worry about that so I’m not paying any attention,” Jarvis said.

First up is Western Kentucky, led by A.J. Slaughter, the Sun Belt Conference’s leading scorer at 17.7 points per game and reigning Player of the Week.

Slaughter had 25 points in WKU’s 79-72 victory vs. FAU earlier this season and Jarvis is looking ensure that doesn't happen again.

“Slaughter is the best player in this league and is a guy that wants the ball for big shots,” Jarvis said. “It may be a question of which guys we put on him instead of who we put on him.”

Preview capsule: Western Kentucky at FAU


Western Kentucky  (17-12, 10-6 Sun Belt)
 at  FAU (14-13, 10-6) 

About the Hilltoppers: Jeremy Evans leads the Sun Belt Conference with a 63.2 percent field goal percentage and 3.1 offensive rebounds per game. …Western Kentucky has made a 3-pointer in 700 consecutive games. ..The Hilltoppers are coming off a 78-76 overtime victory vs. Arkansas State.

About the Owls: FAU has only won one of the previous eight meetings with the Hilltoppers. …FAU is looking for its 11th Sun Belt Conference victory which would set a school SBC record. …FAU is shooting 38.9 percent on its 3-pointers, good enough for No. 20 in the nation in that category.

Projected starting lineups
Western Kentucky / Head coach Ken McDonald
G Anthony Sally 6-2 Sr. (3.5 ppg)
G A.J.. Slaughter 6.3 Sr.  (17.8 ppg)
F Sergio Kerusch 6-5 Jr. (14.1 ppg)
F Steffphon Pettigrew 6-5 Jr. (14.9 ppg)
F Jeremy Evans 6-9 Sr. (10.1 ppg)

FAU / Head coach Mike Jarvis
G Ray Taylor 5-7 Fr. (14.4 ppg)
G Alex Tucker 5-11 So. (6.5 ppg)
G Greg Gantt 6-2, Fr. (15.6 ppg)
G Sanchez Hughley 6-4 Jr. (10.2 ppg)
F Brett Royster 6-8 Jr. (9.8 ppg)

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