Jan 11, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Mike Jarvis speaks with Florida Atlantic Owls guard Pablo Bertone (25) during the second half against the Rice Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Conference USA Tournament Preview: (11) Florida Atlantic vs. (14) Marshall


Jan 11, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Mike Jarvis speaks with Florida Atlantic Owls guard Pablo Bertone (25) during the second half against the Rice Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Atlantic (10-21, 5-11 C-USA) takes on Marshall (10-21, 4-12 C-USA) tonight in the second of three C-USA first round tournament matchups.  Marshall will be looking to avenge a 65-57 home loss earlier this year to FAU in a game where Pablo Bertone and Justin Raffington combined to score 39 of the Owl’s 65 points.

Florida Atlantic at a glance
The Owl’s enter this game having lost their last six games of the regular season.  FAU is 3-13 overall away from home this year, including going winless in their only two neutral court games.

Marshall at a glance
The Thundering Herd’s season took a turn for the worst when they lost their star player in Elijah Pittman a few games before conference play started.  Similar to FAU, Marshall struggled away from home this season, going 2-13 in games outside Huntington.

Who to watch for
First team All-Conference player, Pablo Bertone (18.9 PPG), leads Florida Atlantic in scoring, with a game almost identical to fellow-Argentinean and San Antonio Spur, Manu Ginobili.  Justin Raffington (10.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG) is one of the more talented forwards in the conference for the Owls.  Marquan Botley is the only other Owl to average double-digit scoring and leads the team in three-point percentage, shooting at a 36.5% clip from beyond the arc.

Freshman Kareem Canty (16.4 PPG, 5.7 APG) was one of very few bright spots in Marshall’s season this year, earning all-freshman team and third team all-conference honors.  Ryan Taylor (13.1 PPG) and Chris Thomas (12.7 PPG) are the only other two double-digit scorers for the Thundering Herd.

The Owls will win if
They can shoot effectively from downtown.  Marshall has the 13th worst conference three-point defense, allowing opponents to hit 34% from deep this year, while FAU’s top two scorers (Bertone and Botley) can both get hot behind the arc.

The Thundering Herd will win if
They can stop Pablo Bertone.  He missed the last two games of the regular season due to a minor quadriceps injury, but he should be ready to go tonight.  He led the conference in scoring this season and has the rare ability to carry his team on any given night.

The winner takes on sixth-seed Old Dominion.  Both teams suffered single-digit losses this year in Norfolk this season.

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