Owls lose 66-62 in road game versus Maryland

Wesley Wright

Kelvin Penn snatches a rebound in traffic. Photo by Greg Fiume
Kelvin Penn snatches a rebound in traffic. Photo by Greg Fiume

Maryland scored the first seven points of the game and Florida Atlantic did not respond until a Kelvin Penn tip-in gave FAU their first points with 15:07 to go in the half. Three straight Owl turnovers hampered the offense in the early stages of the game.

Despite the shoddy ball control to start, FAU kept themselves in contention despite very little output from Guard Pablo Bertone. True freshman Point Guards Marquan Botley and D’Andre Johnson picked up the slack for Bertone by scoring eight points early.

Bertone, team captain and leading scorer for FAU, scored his first basket at the 4:42 mark of the first half and hit a three-point basket on the next possession. Botley followed quickly with a three-pointer of his own, cutting the Maryland lead to one.

Botley hit his second three-pointer later on — all part of a 22-11 run by FAU over the last 8:30 of the first half. The Maryland Terrapins shot 35 percent in the first half, but nonetheless took a  33-31 lead into halftime.

Maryland scored the first two baskets of the second half. With the score 37-31, Head Coach Mike Jarvis called a timeout in an attempt to subdue the momentum that the Terrapins gained.

Maryland Guard Dezmine Wells scored a tough layup after drawing a foul on Center Justin Raffington. Wells made his free throw, taking Maryland to a 40-33 lead. The Terrapins’ advantage swelled to 12 with 11:39 remaining and they seemed poised to blow the game open.

The Owls responded with a valiant effort to drag themselves back into the game. A long three-pointer by Bertone cut the Maryland lead to nine and on the next possession Raffington threw down a putback dunk that whittled the lead down to just seven points.

Bertone banked in an even longer three-pointer and after another three-pointer from Botley, the Owls faced a deficit of just four points with 3:56 to play.

A steal by Botley became a full court pass to Bertone, who converted a layup while being fouled. The resulting free throw was good. The score stood at 62-59 in favor of Maryland with only 1:20 to go.

Jake Layman, a Maryland guard who finished with 22 points, hit a three-pointer from the left wing that doubled the lead, bringing it from three to six. Maryland led 65-59 with just 20 seconds to go and won the game by a score of 66-62.

Maryland had a significant 38-22 rebound advantage and the Owls’ frontcourt solely missed Center Dragan Sekelja — who missed his second straight game due to an injury. The size of the seven foot tall, 260 pound senior might have paid dividends against Maryland which had no players over 6’9.

The Owls hit a season high with nine three-pointers versus Maryland, most of which came from Guards Bertone and Botley. Bertone finished the night with 21 points and Botley contributed a career high 18 points.

Despite playing teams with superior talent, the Owls played solid basketball in these last two games. They finish their road trip with a game against Stetson on Dec. 17.

Wesley Wright is the Sports Editor for the University Press. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @NotEvenWes.