Men’s Basketball: Florida International’s Adrian Diaz proves to be too much for Owls to handle

For the fifth consecutive season, the team opens up conference play with a loss


Freshman forward Jeantal Cylla (1) looks to pass the ball to a teammate during the Owls loss to UT-Martin on Dec. 29. Mohammed Emran | Asst. Creative Director

Brendan Feeney, Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic men’s basketball had no answer for Florida International’s senior center Adrian Diaz in the second half, leading to the Owls’ seventh straight loss 76-59 on Sunday.

Diaz entered the game as the Panthers’ (7-7) leader in points and rebounds per game along with leading the NCAA in blocks per game. He scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half.

The Panthers’ center finished the game with 14 rebounds, three blocks and went 11-for-17 for foul shots. The Owls (2-11) shot a combined 9-of-18 from the foul line.

Diaz’ 14 rebounds helped FIU collect 21 more rebounds than the Owls on the afternoon, 46-25. Opponents have now out rebounded Florida Atlantic by a margin of 77 during its current losing streak.

The defeat to the Panthers marks the fifth consecutive season the Owls have opened up conference play with a loss.

Senior guard Jackson Trapp nailed a 3-pointer to give the Owls a 22-19 lead with 7:26 left in the first half. The team went on to miss 15 of its next 17 shots during the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, leading to a 43-28 Panther lead.

FAU was able to cut the lead back down to six points before FIU outscored them 21-10 to finish the game.

Senior guard Solomon Poole led the Owls with 15 points. Freshman forward Jeantal Cylla and freshman guard Nick Rutherford added 11 and 10 points respectively.

Florida Atlantic will look to snap its seven-game losing streak on Thursday, Jan. 7, when it travels to West Virginia to take on Marshall University.

Brendan Feeney 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.