For Crying Owl Loud: The Numbers Behind Men’s Basketball’s Losing Streak

The Owls recently snapped a nine-game losing streak that started in early December. The stats behind that streak tell the story of how it happened


Freshman guard Nick Rutherford calls a play during the Owls’ 88-81 win over Southern Miss on January 14. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Chris Libreros, Contributing Writer

The dark cloud of defeat is finally starting to show some rays of sunlight after Florida Atlantic men’s basketball had its first win of the new year after a 58-51 victory over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Thursday night.  

While the Owls snapping their season-worst nine-game losing streak might be a call for celebration, don’t get excited just yet.

FAU will face yet another tough test in the Burrow Saturday night against a very talented Louisiana Tech team that is sporting a 13-4 record led by their leading scorer Alex Hamilton. The Bulldogs are looking to bounce back with a win after their loss at fellow C-USA member FIU on Thursday.

Before the Owls lace up their sneakers, let’s take a look at the streak to dissect where the Owls went wrong and how they can build on what went right.

During the nine-loss streak, the Owls have allowed 42.6 rebounds per game (RPG) and were outrebounded by seven of their nine opponents — all seven teams claimed double-digit rebounds off the offensive glass. FAU has allowed teams an average of 12.5 offensive rebounds per game in that nine game span.

For context, the Owls are currently ranked at No. 13 in the 14-team conference in rebounding with an average of 33.4 RPG during the streak, just one spot removed from Thursday night’s opponent Southern Miss, who happen to be at the very bottom.

Not all struggles were limited to the glass during the streak, as the Owls’ shooting from the field has hurt them as well this year. In Conference USA this season, the Owls are ranked 13th in both points per game — 62.8 — and field goal percentage — .394 percent.

When you combine this with the fact that the Owls are shooting the ball at a conference worst .291 percent from behind the arc, it’s not hard to see how the recent shooting slump has made an impact on the team’s ability to close out late in tight games.

However, there have been some silver linings this season for FAU. Despite their offensive woes, the Owls have taken good care of the ball with only 11.94 turnovers per game, landing them in the top three of the conference.

FAU’s defense will also play a key factor in future success. During the nine-game losing streak, opponents were shooting an average of 44.5 percent from the field. However, in comparison to the win against Southern Miss, the Golden Eagles were held to just 37.8 percent from the field, a vast improvement.

The Owls will also need to build off their ability to get to the free throw line where they’ve converted on 71 percent of their free throws. This places them in a tie for second in the conference with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Saturday night’s test against the Bulldogs is going to be a tough battle with the Owls going up against the best rebounding team in the conference.  

If the Owls want to turn this season around, it starts Saturday at 7 p.m. in The Burrow.

Christopher Libreros is a contributing writer for the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.