BOCA RATON — After weeks of the same results, Owls coach Michael Curry is attempting to rid his team of deja vu.
In preparation of Thursday’s Conference USA match-up with the rival Florida International Golden Panthers, Curry’s making a massive change to his starting line-up in response to the Owls’ 2-8 showing in their past 10 games. One of those wins came against FIU a little more than two weeks ago.
The biggest change is one that few saw coming: center Ronald Delph, who is averaging 8.8 points and 7.2 rebounds on the season, will be moved to the bench.
“What we think going forward with the groups the way that they are is that the first group will be Nick [Rutherford], Gerdarius [Troutman], Jailyn [Ingram] at the three, move (Jeantal Cylla) to the four – where he’s had his success last year, and with that group William Pfister,” Curry said.
Adonis Filer, who started the season as FAU’s sixth man before taking Frank Booker’s shooting guard role, will join the Oklahoma transfer as part of the second unit. Including Delph, the rest of the second team will consist of Justin Massey and Marcus Neeley.
Curry had first commented on possible lineup changes after Saturday’s 86-57 home loss to Middle Tennessee.
“We’ll have to figure out what to do with the lineups to start the game,” Curry said following a game in which FAU fell behind 19-4 in the early minutes. “You can’t start games like that.”
Moving Troutman into the starting lineup after averaging 11 points in 16 minutes since the start of conference play – including Thursday’s loss to UAB where he hit six three-pointers – was seemingly a no-brainer, as was placing Filer back into the sixth man role where he had success early in the season.
However, replacing Delph with Pfister, who recently fouled out in four straight games, may raise some eyebrows. But to Curry, moving Filer and Delph to the second unit isn’t so much a demotion as it is a chance for them to take advantage of their play styles.
“Adonis and Ron will be the focal points of those groups because Adonis draws so much attention off his pick and rolls,” Curry said. “Ronald becomes a bigger threat in that situation so we look at it and we think it will be the best way to utilize those guys who are kind of in the rotation.”
Fans will get to see the new-look Owls lineup as FAU travels to FIU on Thursday night. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.
“Hopefully we perform better and we’re more in sync,” Curry said of the new lineup.