FAU ended its basketball season in much the same predicament that placed it in the consolation prize NIT tournament — by losing in double digits.
The Owls’ season ended after an 85-62 loss to a much bigger, both in size and weight, Miami Hurricanes team. The Owls struggled much of the night to deal with UM’s center, Reggie Johnson, who grabbed 20 rebounds on the night. It was the first time since 1985 that a Hurricanes player had 20 or more rebounds.
“He’s a load in more ways than one,” said head coach Mike Jarvis about Johnson. “They don’t usually pass him the ball that much but when they do, he can get it done. They were smart enough to go to him probably a lot more than they normally would.”
Jarvis decided to sit talented forward Kore White once again, in favor of Justin Davis, preferring to have Davis and Brett Royster battle with UM’s front line.
“He’s basically, for the most part, struggled,” said Jarvis about the decision to bench White. “Kore White’s got to learn how to work.”
The decision backfired, as Royster had just two rebounds on the night and Davis played 19 scoreless minutes. For much of the night, FAU couldn’t get up and grab rebounds, as its leading rebounder on the night was 6-foot-2-inch guard Greg Gantt.
It was the final game for Royster, a senior who tried to articulate how it felt to end his career on a losing note.
“Sad, obviously,” said Royster. “It’s been a long four years, but to end it knowing where this program is going makes me a little bit happier. The future’s bright for this team. To know that I got to be a part of it, I feel privileged to know these guys.”
The Owls shot 38.6 percent on the night, compared to Miami’s 60 percent, even though FAU got up seven more shot attempts than the Hurricanes.
Sophomore guard Ray Taylor also struggled a great deal in defending his counterpart, UM’s Malcolm Grant, who had zero rebounds and three assists on the night, but added a game-high 23 points, many of which came over the diminutive Taylor.
Taylor also missed 10 shots on the night, shooting 4-14 while adding only two rebounds and two assists.
Following the game, Jarvis tried to focus on the positives of the season.
“I’m proud of these kids and I love these kids and I want them to know that,” said Jarvis.