FAU holds on late, wins over Charlotte, 71-68

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FAU holds on late, wins over Charlotte, 71-68

FAU guard Shaneese Bailey scored  10 points in the Owls' win over Charlotte on Jan. 29. Photo by Max Jackson

FAU guard Shaneese Bailey scored 10 points in the Owls' win over Charlotte on Jan. 29. Photo by Max Jackson

FAU guard Shaneese Bailey scored 10 points in the Owls' win over Charlotte on Jan. 29. Photo by Max Jackson

FAU guard Shaneese Bailey scored 10 points in the Owls' win over Charlotte on Jan. 29. Photo by Max Jackson

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The Florida Atlantic Owls (10-8, 4-3 Conference USA) held on to a 71-68 win against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers after the 49ers almost came back late.

The Owls overcame a rocky defensive start in the first half, falling behind in the first 10 minutes of the game. FAU struggled with ball security, turning the ball over eight times in the first half alone.

“Turnovers are troublesome at this point of the season,” said Lewis-Jay. “ We are a young team, and that fact contributed to some of the turnovers.”

Charlotte’s full court press forced even more turnovers in the second half, as the Owls found themselves unable to get around 49ers’ defenders. FAU finished the game with 19 turnovers.

“Charlotte had a strong press in the second half and they defended hard,” said Lewis-Jay “ We played timid, and it showed on the court.”

Charlotte (7-13, 3-5 C-USA) came back from a 14 point deficit with 6:00 left in the second half, putting pressure on FAU to perform down the stretch.

Down 68-65 with 1:37 left in the game, Sophomore forward Kat Wright hit a three to tie the game. Wright later drew an offensive foul to give FAU the ball back.

“Wright was huge for us down the stretch,” Said Lewis-Jay on Wright, who had 11 points for the game.

With the game tied at 68, sophomore guard Shaneese Bailey was fouled with seven seconds left on the clock and shot two free-throws, hitting both.  Bailey was quiet for the game, scoring 10 points a far cry from her 17.4 points per game this season .

“It was important for Bailey to hit those free throws at the end of the game,” said Lewis-Jay. “ She struggled a bit, but definitely redeemed herself at the end”

Freshman forward Sasha Cedeno led the Owls in scoring with 15 points. Junior forward Alexis Alexander was Charlotte’s leading point scorer, with 14.

The win is FAU’s second in a row, and fourth conference win of the season. Charlotte has now lost three in a row. FAU will next play Old Dominion University at FAU Arena on Jan. 31.

“We protected the home court,” said head coach Kellie Lewis-Jay. “ We know how important it is to get wins at home.”