FAU Owls Win After Late Rally
By: Michael Demyan
The Florida Atlantic University Owls were trailing by 14 points late in the game, but a rally put them over the top as they beat the Old Dominion Monarchs 65-61 on the road Saturday.
The Monarchs entered the game with a three-game win streak and it was the first win for the Owls in their last six matchups against them.
With 8:06 left to play in the first half, the game was looking like it was going to be a close one throughout. The Monarchs were barely holding onto a 15-13 lead, but suddenly they found a rhythm and built a 10-point lead with two minutes remaining in the half.
The Owls’ Justin Massey answered back to cut the lead to eight with 1:36 on the clock, but the rest of the half went scoreless and the score remained at 27-19.
The Monarchs continued their momentum to begin the second half, keeping the Owls far from the lead. With 13:21 left, a basket by Trey Porter pushed their lead to 38-23, the biggest of the night.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Massey brought the deficit back to single digits, but the Monarchs were not going to let the Owls get any closer. With under six minutes left, the Owls were trailing by 14 points.
Suddenly, their offense began to show signs of life as they quickly went on a 10-0 run to bring the score to 54-50 with 3:10 remaining. Marshall’s B.J. Stith then missed a three-pointer, but his brother Brandan Stith grabbed the rebound and dunked it. He was also fouled on the play and after making the extra point, the lead was back up to seven.
The Owls were not out of the game though as free throws by Nick Rutherford and a three-pointer by Frank Booker brought them within two at 57-55 with 1:59 left. Booker later went to the line with 1:28 remaining after being fouled by B.J. Stith. He made 1-of-2 and the lead was down to one.
The Owls’ Jailyn Ingram stole the ball during the Monarchs’ next possession and Massey took advantage of it, shooting a three-pointer to give them a 59-57 lead with only 49 seconds left in the game. They were able to hold on the rest of the way to win 65-61.
The victory was the third straight for the Owls as they improved their overall record to 8-13 and their Conference USA record to 4-6. It was also their third straight conference win on the road, which is the first time they have done so since January 2012.
“We believe in ourselves, maybe not many others do, but we believe that with the work we’ve been putting in and the group we have together that we can do special things,” Massey said.
He led the team with 18 points and 16 of them came in the second half alone. The team’s other top scorers included Rutherford (14), Ingram (11) and Booker (10).
For the Monarchs (14-9, 7-4 C-USA), Brandan Stith led with 14 points and Ahmad Caver was close behind with 12.
The Owls’ next matchup will be Thursday, Feb. 9 against North Texas at home in The Burrow at 7 p.m.