Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

FAU Men’s Basketball Defeats the Trojans

The Owls overcame a tremendous effort from Trojan Rashad Jones-Jennings by hitting several big shots down the stretch to defeat Arkansas-Little Rock 75-71.

“Jones-Jennings is a beast, an absolute monster,” FAU Head Coach Rex Walters said.

DeAndre Rice had 24 points and Paul Graham added 18 more for the Owls, who for the second consecutive game held off a second-half charge from an opponent to hang on for the win at home. Arkansas-Little Rock continued to chip away at a seven-point FAU halftime lead but was denied again and again by the Owls in the second half. Every time the Trojans got close, the Owls would come up with a big basket or defensive stop and add to the lead.

A ten-point lead with three minutes left in the first half nearly withered away as the Trojans cut the deficit to four. Then, Rice hit a three pointer with time winding down, and UALR couldn’t answer as the half ended. Rice hit another exclamatory three to cap a 9-0 Owls run after the Trojans trimmed the Owls’ lead to two midway through the second half.

“You have to give Rex and his guys credit,” UALR Head Coach Steve Shields said. “We made runs and they answered those runs.”

Jones-Jennings scored 18 points and added a season high 22 rebounds for the Trojans. He entered the game as the nation’s leading rebounder at 12.1 per game and Arkansas-Little Rock’s leading scorer. Jones-Jennings didn’t disappoint in his first game since being featured in the Sports Section of USA Today earlier in the week.

“We didn’t get enough stops,” Jones-Jennings said. “We made a run and Rice hit a three, and they stopped our run. That took the air out of us.” Owls’ Derrick Simmons made seven of his first eight shots on his way to 15 points, while playing his usual stout defense. In the first half he swatted a Lekheythan Malone shot into the first row, much to the delight of the crowd. Later he picked up a loose ball and fed Paul Graham for a fast-break dunk. “It wasn’t pretty again, but DeAndre Rice and Paul Graham made great plays. Simmons had great energy,” FAU Coach Walters said. With the win the Owls improved to 6-5 in Sun Belt Conference, while UALR fell to 4-7. FAU now has sole possession of third place in the Eastern Division with seven conference games remaining in their first Sun Belt season after transferring from the less formidable Atlantic Sun Conference.

“I feel like we are one of the better teams in the conference, and we are getting disrespected,” Rice said.

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