Men’s Basketball: Jackson Trapp’s game winning shot completes comeback victory versus Louisiana Tech

Owls ride hot shooting second half to overcome 20-point halftime deficit

Freshman+forward+Jeantal+Cylla+dunks+during+the+Owls%27+63-61+comeback+victory+over+Louisiana+Tech.+The+win+marks+the+first+time+under+Michael+Curry+that+the+Owls+have+won+back-to+-back+conference+games.+Mohammed+Emran+%7C+Staff+Photographer

Freshman forward Jeantal Cylla dunks during the Owls' 63-61 comeback victory over Louisiana Tech. The win marks the first time under Michael Curry that the Owls have won back-to -back conference games. Mohammed Emran | Staff Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Contributing Writer

Men’s basketball rallied from being down 20 points at halftime to beat Louisiana Tech 63-61 after senior guard Jackson Trapp nailed his only 3-pointer of the night with three seconds left in the game.

Senior guard Solomon Poole and freshman guard Nick Rutherford led the comeback with 16 points each.

The Owls (4-14, 2-3 Conference USA) started the game slow on offense, going 1-for-10 from the floor in the first eight minutes of the game and only scoring four points. The Bulldogs (13-5, 2-3 Conference USA), on the other hand, started the game shooting 1-for-7 before going on a 29-5 run in a ten minute span to take a 36-16 lead going into the halftime.

Florida Atlantic was held scoreless for eight minutes, missing all 11 shots during that span.

The Owls were held to 18 percent shooting from the field — a season low for them in a half — including 1-for-13 from behind the three-point line.

Rutherford, who was held quiet up to that point, stole the ball away from Louisiana Tech guard Alex Hamilton and finished the half on a buzzer-beating layup, avoiding a season-low for points in a half.

“We didn’t play with no aggressiveness on offense nor defense in the first half,” said head coach Michael Curry. “They hit us in the mouth early.”

FAU began the second half hot, shooting 60 percent from the field and outscoring Louisiana Tech 20-8 to cut the deficit to eight points with 11:50 left in the game. The Owls held the Bulldogs to only 19 percent shooting (2-11) during that time frame.

After junior forward Jessie Hill knocked down a 3-pointer — cutting the lead down to two with 7:57 remaining — neither team was able to pull away.

With just two minutes left in the game, Poole made a layup, tying the score at 56 points apiece. Rutherford followed with his own layup on the next offensive possession, giving the Owls the lead for the first time in the game.

However, with 21 seconds to play and the Owls with the lead and possession, the inbound pass was stolen and an Erik McCree and-one layup gave the Bulldogs back the lead. Trapp then knocked down the game-winning 3-point shot after coming off a couple screens running down the baseline.

“I wasn’t sure if it was going to go in because I thought [the defender] fouled me,” said Trapp on the game winner.  “I was hoping [the referees] would call a foul if it hadn’t gone in.”

Bulldogs’ guard Alex Hamilton led the team in scoring with 20 points, but could not get a shot off at the end of the game as he lost his handle. After shooting 48 percent from the field in the first half, Louisiana Tech was held to only 32 percent in the second half, including 0-for-4 from beyond the arc.

This marks the Bulldogs’ first loss this season when leading at halftime.

The Owls go back on the road on Thursday, Nov. 21, to face UTEP.
Hans Belot Jr. is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories, email him at [email protected].