FAU improves to 3-1 by winning home opener over Warner

Ryan Cortes

Last season’s contest versus Warner University took three overtimes to decide before FAU won. This one ended in regulation, with the Owls once again coming out on top.

Powered by efficient shooting and a strong defensive performance, the Owls won their home opener over the Warner University Royals, 88-58.

“No one likes triple-overtime games,” said guard Alex Tucker. “I was talking to the guys earlier and we said 40 minutes is all we would play. No more.”

The game began with back-to-back turnovers by the Royals, and that trend continued throughout the game as FAU’s defense caused Warner difficulties, including holding them to 37-percent shooting.

The Owls debuted a new lineup with freshman Dennis Mavin starting at shooting guard. Mavin had 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Sophomore Ray Taylor came off the bench and provided a spark for the Owls, playing 24 minutes and contributing nine assists.

“We’re now afforded the luxury of bringing Ray Taylor off the bench,” said coach Mike Jarvis on the new lineup possibilities with Mavin inserted. “I can’t think of a guy more perfectly suited off the bench. I love him there.”

Early in the game, Taylor had trouble controlling the ball on an offensive possession and Ian Wilhelm of the Royals raced ahead upcourt with a breakaway opportunity. Wilhelm was caught from behind on his way to the basket as forward Brett Royster pinned the ball against the backboard for a block.

In the second half, Royster had yet another block on Wilhelm, this time preceding back-to-back layups by Alex Tucker and Greg Gantt for FAU. The Royals called for a timeout with 15:45 remaining in the second half, down 55-31.

The Owls were led by Gantt, who had a team-high 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Fellow sophomore Jordan McCoy provided 11 assists despite being matched up versus a player 6 inches taller in Malcolm Campbell.

Campbell fouled out of the game with 8:42 remaining after getting called for a block on McCoy.

It was FAU’s defense, however that caused the Royals the majority of the night’s difficulties.

“We had guys flying around on defense,” said Gantt, “something we didn’t do well last year.”