FAU falls to South Alabama 77-66 in Sun Belt opener

Bryant Eng

Just hours after an armed intruder invaded campus, the Owls opened up their Sun Belt schedule at The Burrow against South Alabama.

It only took about five minutes for momentum to shift toward South Alabama as the Jaguars used a 20-5 run in the first half to take a commanding lead that they never ceded.

Guard Greg Gantt’s career-high 29 points were not enough as the Owls (2-4 overall record) ended up losing 77-66 to the Jaguars.

Associate head coach Mike Jarvis II didn’t see anything especially significant about Gantt tying his career-high scoring mark.

“I’d rather he score two points and we win than him score 29 points and we lose.”

Integral to South Alabama’s run was Jaguars’ guard Xavier Roberson, who finished 5 of 8 on 3-pointers. Owls head coach Mike Jarvis was not pleased with the defense of Roberson and others.

“Its like all the sudden the guys who were guarding forgot who the best shooters were.”

FAU simply couldn’t get anything going offensively despite making a change in the starting lineup. Forward Kelvin Penn replaced Dragan Sekelja as Thursday’s starting center.

When asked what prompted the change, Jarvis simply stated that “[Penn’s] been playing better.”

The lineup change hardly yielded positive results though. Despite shooting 47 percent from the field in the first half, the Owls scored 33 points at the break and trailed by 11.

The Owls were much more competitive in the second half but couldn’t cut all the way into the Jaguars lead.

In what was apparently a move to get more offense out of the back court, Jarvis started freshman guard Stefan Moody in the second half in place of Pablo Bertone. Moody, though, had his struggles.

The guard shot 4 of 9 from the field in the second half, but turned the ball over twice and made some head scratching decisions. Among them was a quick and deep missed three point attempt at the 1:36 mark, with FAU trailing only by seven.

The Owls were sloppy on both ends, and Jarvis was clearly unhappy with his team’s performance, especially defensively.

“The game of basketball is 40 minutes,” Jarvis said. “And the one part of the game that is total team basketball is on the defensive end.”

Tonight, the Owls were hardly a team on either end and it showed.