Men’s Basketball: Owls give up early lead in loss to Florida State

Sophomore forward C.J. Turman records his third double-double of the season with a game-high 15-rebounds


Sophomore guard Nick Rutherford made all eight of his foul shots in the Owls loss to SIU Edwardsville on Sunday night. Mohammed Emran | Staff Photographer

Josh Talero, Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic men’s basketball couldn’t defend a 12-point first half lead as the Florida State Seminoles pulled out the victory in the game’s closing moments, defeating the Owls 64-59 in the 2015 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic at the BB&T Center on Saturday.

A second half scuffle between the two teams awoke a sleeping Florida State team as the Seminoles cut FAU’s lead down to just four points with over 11 minutes left in the game.

The re-energized Seminoles (8-2), aided by two three-point baskets by sophomore guard Xavier-Rathan Mayes, grabbed their first lead of the game with fewer than eight minutes remaining.

“Those plays add up and we miss a couple of assignments and have a couple of turnovers in the wrong spots, we can’t afford to do those things,” said head coach Michael Curry on FSU’s resurgence.

The game — which was originally set to tip off at 5 p.m. — was delayed while maintenance crews attempted to adjust the height on one of the rims. The delay lasted approximately 45 minutes and both teams were given five extra minutes to warm up before the adjusted tipoff time.

Once the game was underway, FAU (2-9) took little time to score when its first possession ended in an alley-oop dunk by sophomore forward C.J. Turman.

Turman nearly recorded a double-double in the half, notching eight points and nine rebounds. He finished the game with 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, his third double-double of the season.

The Owls continued their hot start by opening up an 11-3 lead in the game’s first five minutes.
Shortly after the quick start, a second delay occurred after an attempted dunk by Florida State almost toppled the same rim that initially delayed the start of the game.

The two delays were not enough to slow down the Owls in the first half, as FAU took a 35-23 lead into halftime, due in large part by Turman and senior guard Jackson Trapp.

Trapp contributed two 3-point baskets and eight first half points. He struggled to continue his hot shooting after the first half, finishing with 11 points.

Defense was also a large part of the Owls’ first half success. In his third start of the year, sophomore center Ronald Delph continued to show his worth as a piece to the Owls’ lineup

The combination of Delph and Turman made it tough for FSU to score the ball throughout the first half, as the Seminoles shot 8-for-31 from the field and missed all six of their 3-point shot attempts.

Junior guard Marquan Botley said of the center, “We’ve been waiting for Ron [Delph] to play for a long time. We look to Ron in a lot of areas offensively and defensively. He brings a different feel, a lot of energy.”

Regarding the team’s initial defensive success, Curry said, “We feel if we can keep teams out of the paint, we have a chance. A lot of the times we were able to do that.”

Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley — Florida State freshmen guards and two of the nation’s top high school recruits in 2015 — were key players in the FSU comeback as they contributed to the Seminoles’ 24 total fast-break points.

Although the Owls were ahead for much of the game and competitive until the final minutes, Curry wasn’t satisfied and stated the team’s objectives moving forward.

“They competed as a team, but as we’re trying to turn this program around, competing and playing close is not going to be good enough,” Curry said.

The Owls next game is on the road against Hofstra on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Josh Talero is a contributing writer for the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.