Basketball: Owls take down USF for the first time, 50-42

Travis Barber

FAU earned its first victory versus the University of South Florida in 12 tries Saturday night, with a 50-42 triumph.

Led by a career-high 19 points from junior guard Alex Tucker, the Owls pulled out a close game right up to the final minute.

The team deployed a 2-3 zone from the outset, which limited the Bulls to only 18 first-half points.

The Owls’ defense also kept the bigger Bulls from ever capitalizing on their height advantage at nearly every position. South Florida was out-rebounded 35-29.

“Rebounding to us was serious, and the outcome showed,” said forward Kore White, who posted 11 points and four rebounds.

Senior forward Brett Royster came up with three blocks in the second half, one of which sailed out of bounds and sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The Owls seemed to make all of the big plays down the stretch as they consistently stopped several South Florida runs with timely steals, including when Tucker dashed to the hoop and scored a lay-up while being fouled. His three-point play gave the Owls a four-point lead that effectively sealed the game.

No South Florida player scored in double figures, and the team as a whole was limited to just 32 percent from the field.

“We just stuck to our gameplan, and tried to come with energy,” said Tucker, who was still stinging from the loss to USF last year. “We came out with intensity. We’re deeper this year.”

The victory puts the Owls at 5-4 and places them in a tie for first place in the SBC East.