Owls suffer tough loss to Middle Tennessee as guard Pablo Bertone reaches 1000 point milestone

Rodolphe Ganthier

Justin Raffington scores two of his four points on the night. Photo by Sean Webster

Justin Raffington scores two of his four points on the night. Photo by Sean Webster

FAU began the game very sluggish on offense, with two consecutive turnovers and a missed shot by senior guard Pablo Bertone in their first three possessions.

The game was close throughout the half, with both teams staying within touching distance of each other, until a jumper by junior guard Tweety Knight gave the Raiders took their largest lead of the game at 29-21 with 4:08 left to play in the first half.

Later, consecutive three point baskets by freshman guard D’Andre Johnson and two free throws by Bertone brought the Owls within two to end the first half trailing 31-29. Forward Shawn Jones of the Blue Raiders led all scorers with 13 points (5-8 shooting) followed by Bertone with 11 points (3-5 shooting).

FAU shot just 37 percent in the first half. In the beginning stages of the second half, both teams failed to create a substantial lead. There was a moment of celebration for FAU fans as senior guard Pablo Bertone scored his 1000th point of his FAU career. The senior guard is the 11th player in school history to do so, and he is very grateful.

Pablo Bertone attempts a free throw as his teammate Marquan Botley looks on. Bertone and Botley combined for 36 of the 63 FAU points on the night. Photo by Max Jackson

Pablo Bertone attempts a free throw as his teammate Marquan Botley looks on. Bertone and Botley combined for 36 of the 63 FAU points on the night. Photo by Max Jackson

“Personally, I never thought about reaching that goal, but there’s only a few guys that have been able to make it and not everybody accomplishes this, so it’s nice,” said Bertone.

Head Coach Mike Jarvis’ men faded offensively down the stretch while the Blue Raiders did the total opposite. Following a dunk by Raiders’ senior forward Neiko Hunter, the game stood at 62-54 with just under two minutes to go and the feeling around the arena was that the game had slipped out of reach for the home team.

The Owls then went on a small run in which guard Marquan Botley made 2 three pointers, one of which resulted in a four point play which made the score 63-64 in favor of MTSU with 10 seconds left to play.

After a made free throw by Hunter put the Raiders up 65-63, the Owls still had the chance to tie or take the lead on their final possession. Pablo Bertone ran the length of the court with five seconds left and drove to the basket in search of contact, but there was no whistle from the referees.

MTSU rebounded the Bertone miss and FAU fouled in response. With two Blue Raider free throws, the game ended a 67-63 with another FAU loss. Jarvis completely understood why no whistle came on that final play.

Mike Jarvis looks on wistfully. Photo by Sean Webster

Mike Jarvis looks on wistfully. Photo by Sean Webster

“During the games, good officials normally don’t make calls [at that point],” Jarvis said. “It’s not as much as swallowing the whistle, but they let the game be decided by the players unless it’s a clear foul or something really blatant.”

The loss drops FAU to 8-15 overall, and they now have 3-5 record in Conference USA. The Owls will be looking to get back on track Saturday when they meet the University of Alabama-Birmingham in the Burrow. The UAB Blazers are 14-8 overall, but just 2-4 away from home and just 3-5 in the conference thus far.