Men’s Basketball Preview: Owls look to carry winning momentum with two conference home games

Playing host to Old Dominion and Charlotte, Michael Curry’s team will try to pick up key wins this week


Senior guard Solomon Poole (22) shoots over Louisiana Tech’s Alex Hamilton (0) on Jan. 16. Poole had a season­-high scoring total of 16 points in the 63-61 win over the Bulldogs. Mohammed Emran | Staff Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Contributing Writer

After splitting two games last week in its road trip in Texas, FAU men’s basketball will be looking to continue its winning ways when the team heads back home this week.

The Owls (5-15, 3-4 Conference USA) will be taking on the Old Dominion Monarchs (10-10, 3-4 Conference USA) on Thursday Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. and the Charlotte 49ers (6-13, 3-4 Conference USA) Saturday Jan. 30 at 2 p.m., looking to improve on their conference record and move up the standings.

Last week, the Owls went 1-1 in their Texas road trip, losing to UTEP 71-56 and beating UTSA 86-71, with their highest point total this season coming in the win.

Here’s what you need to know for both upcoming matchups:


The Monarchs, who are 1-4 in their last five games, have been a wall defensively this season, allowing only 61.7 points per game. They’re ranked seventh in all of Men’s D-I basketball and first in Conference USA. Although he’s missed six games, forward Brandan Stith has been their paint protector, averaging close to two blocks a game in the 14 games he’s played.  

The team also ranks third in Conference USA in field goal defense, limiting opponents to only 40 percent shooting.

Meanwhile, the Owls rank second to last in Conference USA in scoring offense, averaging only 63.7 points a game. They also rank in the bottom three of the conference in field goal percentage and 3-point shooting percentage, at 39 percent and 31 percent respectively.

Old Dominion’s backcourt duo of Trey Freeman and Aaron Bacote is averaging a combined 34.4 points per game, which is slightly more than 50 percent of the total team average in points per game.

Freeman, who has averaged 29 points over the Monarch’s last five games, is putting up 20 points per game this season along with 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. His backcourt mate, Bacote, is averaging 14.4 points per game to go with 2.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

For the Owls, their main scorer has been junior guard Adonis Filer with 10 points a game. Although, freshman forward Jeantal Cylla has been key these last two games, averaging 23.5 points on 60 percent shooting, along with five rebounds.


The 49ers are ranked sixth in Conference USA in scoring offense thanks to their balanced attack, with five players averaging double digits in scoring. Braxton Ogbueze leads the way with 12.4 points per game, along with two assists.

The 49ers are currently riding a two-game winning streak with an average of 95.5 points per game.

Although their offense has been steady, Charlotte’s defense has been anything but. They rank second to last in field goal percentage defense in Conference USA and last in 3-point field goal percentage defense.

They are currently being outscored by a six-point margin, giving up 81.1 points per game.

Charlotte ranks third in Conference USA in 3-point field goal percentage offense, with Ogbueze shooting 40 percent from behind the arc, which is actually better than his total field goal percentage of 38 percent.


The Owls will need their defense to be as good as ever to beat the Monarchs, as it might be a tough night for FAU offensively. Their backcourt will probably put in more energy defensively dealing with Old Dominion’s backcourt than offensively, which means FAU will have to rely on other scoring options to carry the load.

With the way Cylla has played the last two games, he might be head coach Michael Curry’s primary offensive target. It will be a low scoring game, so don’t expect either team to reach 80 points.

For the 49ers, this will probably be an up-tempo, high scoring affair, with neither team being a top defensive force. Defensively, the Owls will need to contain perhaps all five players on the court and guard the three-point arc, as Charlotte is one of the best at letting it fly from long range.

FAU will need to push the ball to get good opportunities offensively and will need a collective effort to pull this one out.

Hans Belot Jr. is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories, email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.