Owls lose tight game to Stetson

Wesley Wright

Florida Atlantic University (3-9) lost a close game with Stetson (2-10), the Owls’ third consecutive loss.

The Owls shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, led by Pablo Bertone (nine points), D’Andre Johnson (eight points) and Justin Raffington (seven points).

Stetson responded with a respectable offensive effort of their own, shooting 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from the three-point line. Both marks are by far the best for Stetson basketball at this juncture in the season.

A three-pointer by freshman guard Marquan Botley capped a 8-0 FAU run just before the end of the first half, and the Owls took a 34-29 lead into halftime.

FAU shot in 11 of 14 from the line in the first half — a good sign for a team that has been struggling for the line this season. Their free throw percentage is in the sub-seventies.

FAU had a seven point lead after a Botley layup with 15:36 remaining in the game. The Owls were unable to break the game open, and Stetson was able to hang around for the entirety of the second half.

A three-pointer from Raymone Andrews put Stetson ahead 62-60 with 2:18 to play — their first lead since the 3:30 mark in the first half.

Raffington tied the game once more with a dunk with just 24 seconds left. Kelvin Penn opened up the opportunity for the dunk with two offensive rebounds on that possession.

Stetson called a timeout with 11 seconds to go, and drew up a play that resulted in a layup by forward Willie Green — a layup that became the game winning basket. Green finished with 18 points.

Bertone finished with 18 points, but was held scoreless the final 9:22 of the game. Johnson scored a career-high 13 points.

The Owls gave 30 of the 64 Stetson points in the paint, and SU ended the game shooting at a 49 percent clip.

The 64-62 loss is especially frustrating given that Owls lost 69-68 to Stetson last year. This is the fourth overall FAU loss by less than five points. In their next game, the Owls play Elon at home on Dec.22.

Note: Dragan Sekelja returned tonight from an injury that kept him out the past two games. Sekelja played only five minutes and managed one point.