FIU Men’s Basketball Attempts to Make it Three Straight Against FAU

Photo by FIU Athletics

After arguably the biggest win in program history against UAB, FIU (8-7) now welcomes the FAU Owls (14-1) who are winners of 13-straight games and look to make it 14 against an FIU team who just keeps proving others wrong.

FIU has now beaten two Conference-USA teams back-to-back. FAU enters this game at the top of the Conference-USA standings and with a 4-0 record. On the other hand, FIU looks to go 3-2 in the conference and take a jump in the standings which will be much needed.

Straight Out of Boca Raton

Alijah Martin is the leader in points per game and steals for FAU. The 6’2″ sophomore will impose a good amount of work on the Panthers defense, but after watching FIU hold Jordan Walker to five points, you feel a lot better about your chances to hold Martin to less than his points per game average, which is 13.2.

Martin also gets a fairly high amount of rebounds per game, which reminds me a lot of the recent performances of FIU guard Denver Jones. FIU’s game plan should involve focusing on Martin big time, but after the UAB game, you feel a lot better about how the Panthers can stop FAU.

A player who I believe will impose a big threat to FIU is the 7’1″ sophomore Vladislav Goldin. He’s an offensive threat, averaging 10.4 points per game, a leading 5.9 rebounds per game, and has a 65.0% field goal percentage.

Although FIU has a variety of big men reaching the stature of 7’0″ or more, the main man in the middle has been 6’9″ power forward/center Mohamed Sanogo who dropped 10 points, five rebounds, and two blocks in their last game against UAB. This will be the matchup I will find most interesting in the contest.

Alijah Martin’s backcourt partner, Johnell Davis, is another intriguing player on the FAU side. Averaging 11.4 ppg, 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 48.6% field goal percentage, he is someone who may be missed on the court due to the attention of Alijah Martin and others. If you can keep Davis in check throughout most of the game, then most of the game plan will be towards Martin.

Although he is only averaging 8.1 points per game, Bryan Greenlee dropped 12 points on 5-10 on field goals and 2-5 from the 3-point line. If FIU finds a way to lock down the number one scorer Alijah Martin, then you can see most of the workload go to Greenlee and Godlin.

If you put someone like Dashon Gittens who is on the rise on the second or third option of any team, then maybe you have a chance of keeping the game closer.

Denver Jones and Arturo Dean are on Fire

The heart and soul of this FIU team this season has been guard Denver Jones who was just named Conference-USA player of the week after dropping 29 points, three steals, four assists, and five rebounds in their win against UAB.

Jones this season has averaged 19.2 points per game, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Jones is also one of the most clutch players in the whole conference so far this season. When his team needs him, he has ice in his veins to finish the job and get the much-needed win for FIU.

On the other hand, freshman Arturo Dean was just named Conference-USA freshman of the week after dropping 16 points and four steals, assists, and rebounds in the UAB game. Dean has been exactly what FIU needs at the point guard position, which allows Jones to be the team’s shooting guard and number one option on the team.

Dean this season is averaging 12.3 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, and a team-leading 2.7 assists. Dean is exactly what the team needs right now, which is an offensive-heavy points guard that can play some tight defense.

FIU Key players to the game

In the win against UAB, Nick Guadarrama put up a career-high 19 points and had five rebounds. Guadarrama is expected to continue to be a key contributor to FIU’s offense as he can be a floor spreader when needed. Nick is 5th on the team in 3-point percentage.

When you need help on defense, Guadarrama is also a huge part of what he can provide as he is third on the team in blocks and can rack up the much-needed rebounds that the leads the team in. I expect Guadarrama to be a key piece in stopping big man Vladislav Goldin in the paint as well as spreading the floor so that more opportunities open up for the big men in the paint.

Mohamed Sanogo continues to improve over the course of the season and after his 10-point, two blocks, and 5 rebound performance, I continue to believe that Sanogo is a very young version of Bam Adebayo.

At 6’9″ and 200 pounds, the task will not be easy to stop Goldin, but I feel confident that the opportunity is better and better as the season progresses. On offense, all he needs is the ball in his hand and in the paint to get to work and make something happen for FIU.


FAU: 85

FIU: 73

MVP: Bryan Greenlee

(Visited 35 times, 1 visits today)

About Post Author