Men’s basketball: FAU wins seventh straight with 88-71 victory over UALR

Ryan Cortes

With the game being broadcast on national television on ESPN2, FAU (15-6, 7-0) delivered another quality win, defeating conference foe UALR 88-71 on Saturday, Jan. 22.

The win at The Burrow was the Owls’ seventh in a row and seventh conference victory.

FAU created a big lead in the second half, but early on the outcome wasn’t clear.

UALR began the game with a 6-0 run as Greg Gantt air-balled a shot and Ray Taylor threw a pass out of play.

The Owls responded shortly thereafter as Brett Royster delivered a loud dunk, ending the run that would be the largest and only lead UALR had on the day.

Throughout the game, the FAU crowd provided assistance to the Owls.

“The crowd was tremendous,” said Taylor. “I think I warmed up the whole time with a big smile on my face because the energy was just terrific.

“Like Kore [White] even told the guys in charge of getting the section like that, that was like an extra 10 points before the game even started.”

Although the nation got to see a loud and filled arena, it also got to see the best game of White’s career as he provided 22 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs.

“Kore White is a tremendous talent,” said head coach Mike Jarvis. “I mean, how many big guys can shoot a jump shot and make it consistently from 15 to 18 [feet] midrange?”

The Owls provided many highlights for ESPN all throughout the game, beginning with a Taylor bounce pass in between defenders to Gantt for a layup, putting FAU ahead 15-9 with under 14 minutes left in the first half.

At halftime the Owls led 42-37, despite allowing UALR to shoot 5-7 from 3-point range.

In the second half, the Owls defense reduced that to just 3 of 12.

In the second half, Taylor twisted and turned his way to an underhand layup, putting FAU ahead 46-40 and resulting in a UALR timeout.

Following the timeout, UALR was unable to close the gap, with FAU extending its lead all the way up to 17 with two and a half minutes to play. That would be the exclamation point for the Owls’ victory.

With seven straight wins, there is a certain caution among the team to not forget what got them to that point.

“I’m one of the oldest guys. We went 6-26 my freshman year,” said guard Alex Tucker. “I try and tell them, you don’t want to go through a 13-game losing streak, so I try and keep them focused.”

Tucker provided another night of smart, efficient play, giving the Owls 6 assists and a 4-6 shooting night.

Despite his cautious play, Jarvis warned not to underestimate him.

“Alex Tucker himself is probably overall the most athletic player on our team,” said Jarvis. “Even though he has the body of a 59-year-old man, he’s incredibly athletic. He does things sometimes that you just wonder about.”

FAU returns to the court on Jan. 27 when it faces Middle Tennessee State.

To read more about what this game means to FAU and the Owls, pick up the Jan. 25 issue of the UP.