[Story and Gallery] Owls Basketball cap off season with 23 point loss to MTSU

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[Story and Gallery] Owls Basketball cap off season with 23 point loss to MTSU

Justin Raffington scores a bucket in his final game as an Owl. Raffington totaled seven points. Photo by Max Jackson

Justin Raffington scores a bucket in his final game as an Owl. Raffington totaled seven points. Photo by Max Jackson

Justin Raffington scores a bucket in his final game as an Owl. Raffington totaled seven points. Photo by Max Jackson

Justin Raffington scores a bucket in his final game as an Owl. Raffington totaled seven points. Photo by Max Jackson

Josue Simplice, Sports Editor

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Florida Atlantic (9-20, 2-16) was not able to rally back from a 17 point first half deficit against the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders, losing 77-54.

The game was on senior night, the last game for the team’s four seniors —  senior center Justin Raffington, forward Brian Hornstein, forward Kelvin Penn, and guard Anthony Graves.

FAU started the game down seven before they were able to score their first points of the game.

“I thought they played with more aggression than us to start the game,” said head coach Michael Curry.

Junior forward Jackson Trapp and freshman center C.J. Turman led the way for the Owls with eight points apiece in the first half.

While they shot an efficient 80 percent [Turman] and 60 percent [Trapp] from the field, FAU as a team only shot 34 percent. FAU shot 42 percent from the field for the game.

The Owls were not able to get to the free-throw line while MTSU was a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe. The Blue Raiders also scored 11 points off of seven FAU turnovers.

For the game, they shot 18 free-throws to FAU’s 10 and scored 26 points off Owl turnovers. Towards the end of the half, MTSU’s went on an 11-0 run to give themselves a 17 point lead.

FAU started off the second half poorly by turning the ball over twice but they rebounded to get within eight points of the Blue Raiders, 48-36 with 13 minutes left in the game.

However, MTSU forward Reggie Upshaw stymied the FAU rally by scoring 13 of his 20 points in the second half and doing so efficiently by shooting 5-for-6.

“He was really good tonight. Some of our bigs he had quickness on, and the guards he posted up and spun around every time,” said Curry.

The Blue Raiders lead grew to 26 in the second half, and FAU never led or tied MTSU through the game.

The loss caps a disappointing inaugural season for the Owls, their first under Curry. They’ll will seek to bounce back from this with a strong recruiting class and transfers for next season.

“From me down to the last guy we have to find a way to get better so that we’re prepared for next season,” said Curry.