Men’s Basketball: Owls get past rival FIU in overtime in Miami

Ryan Cortes

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Whether at home in Boca Raton or in FIU’s house in Miami, the Owls just seem to find a way to break the Golden Panthers’ hearts.

Having defeated its biggest rival at home two weeks ago on a late shot from Brett Royster, FAU once again was able to pull out a late victory. This time, the Owls won in overtime, 80-78.

Both at the end of regulation, when the score was tied at 72, and at the end of overtime, FAU played good defense.

On both occasions, the Owls stumped FIU’s advances, pulling out their 19th win of the season. The victory also gave FAU its first ever season with 11 conference wins.

The win, coupled with a loss by Middle Tennessee, granted the Owls the East division championship of the Sun Belt Conference, putting them in the driver’s seat for a spot in March Madness.

“That’s every kid’s dream that’s in college, I think,” said guard Ray Taylor. “The first day of conditioning, you’re conditioning for March. You’re conditioning to make that deep run in March.”

Many FAU fans made the trip down to Miami to see their possible March Madness-bound team, and they did more than just show up.

“I’m sure the players from FIU were taken aback a little bit by the tremendous support,” said head coach Mike Jarvis. “Not only did they come, they came in red, they came painted, and they were noisy. You don’t see that happen too often.”

The Owls were able to win late despite shooting just 38.9% on the night due to key performances from Jordan McCoy, Greg Gantt and Taylor.

With eight minutes into the game, Taylor was just 2-of-12 shooting, including 1 of 8 from behind the three point lane.

Taylor’s teammates, however, knew they needed him to step up.

“My teammates, especially Shavar Richardson, just kept telling me ‘keep shooting the open shots. You’re going to make some big ones for us, I feel it,'” said Taylor. “So, later in the game I knew we had to make a shot and when you know have to make a shot, you’re either going to fold or rise to the occasion, and God willingly, I rose to the occasion”

FAU was also bolstered by a strong performance from McCoy, who got the starting nod over Kore White in an attempt to jump start a stagnant offense.

It worked for FAU, as McCoy battled down low throughout the game, ending with 19 points and 8 rebounds.

“I love physicality,” said McCoy. “I’m skinny, but I like to play physical as well.”