FAU Men’s Basketball loses first game of season to Elon 64-58


Forward Justin Raffington was one of several Owls who battle foul trouble, but the senior finished with ten points and nine rebounds. Raffington is pictured here during a home versus Elon from the 2013-2014 season. Photo by Max Jackson

Michael Curry was unable to get a win in the first game of his collegiate coaching career, with the Florida Atlantic Owls (0-1) lost to the Elon Phoenix (1-0) 64-58. Here’s what you need to know:

Both FAU and Elon played a physical, defensive game. Both teams constantly brought the ball into the paint to score and draw fouls, with FAU and Elon shooting 24 and 22 free throws respectively. FAU center Justin Raffington brought a strong inside presence on defense for the Owls with two blocks.

Viewers got a preview of Michael Curry’s coaching style. Curry’s system uses the guards to bring the ball down the court, with his centers and forwards often setting screens. In the first half , the offense flourished in the system, and the Owls went to halftime with a 37-32 lead. In the second half, the offense found it harder to score points without guard Marquan Botley, who was in foul trouble. The Owls only scored 21 points in the first half, compared to 37 points in the second half.

The Owls had four players in foul trouble. FAU had four players in foul trouble during the game, including guards Botley and Justin Massey (four fouls each), Forward Kelvin Penn (five), and center C.J. Turman (four). The team had a total of 23 fouls. The foul trouble did not help FAU in the second half, as the Owls were without one of their leading scorers in Botley, with 15 points on the night (guard Jackson Trapp also had 15 points).

Both teams turned the ball over multiple times. Turnovers played a large part in tonight’s game. Elon had 11 and FAU had 16, as both teams showed strong defensive pressure. FAU Guards Botley and Trapp had 3 and 4 turnovers respectively in the game, which hurt the Owls’ offensive momentum.

Elon hit shots when they needed to. Elon was very good down the stretch, with center Tony Sabato and guard Tanner Samson leading the team. Sabto worked through traffic in the paint on his way to 14 points, and Samson hit two three pointers to keep the phoenix ahead.  FAU could not get back into the game after falling behind, missing free throws and three pointers that could have brought them closer to Elon late in the game.

FAU is 0-3 in their last three games against Elon, including a 67-62 loss last year at home. FAU will return home on November 17 at 7 p.m. to face Warner Southern in their first home matchup of the season.