Men’s Basketball: Owls record second win of season versus UTSA

Victory marks first season series sweep under Michael Curry.

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Men’s Basketball: Owls record second win of season versus UTSA

Jeantal Cylla goes for a layup in the first half of the Owls' 79-73 win versus UTSA. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photgrapher

Jeantal Cylla goes for a layup in the first half of the Owls' 79-73 win versus UTSA. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photgrapher

Jeantal Cylla goes for a layup in the first half of the Owls' 79-73 win versus UTSA. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photgrapher

Jeantal Cylla goes for a layup in the first half of the Owls' 79-73 win versus UTSA. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photgrapher

Ryan Lynch, Multimedia Editor

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For the first time since joining Conference USA, Florida Atlantic men’s basketball swept a conference opponent in a season series, beating the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners for the second time this year 79-73.

The sweep, which also marks the first time that head coach Michael Curry has swept a conference opponent, comes after a two-game losing streak to Middle Tennessee State and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“You always want to take care of your home court,” Curry said. “If you have a team coming back here and you get them on their court and take care of your home, that two-gamer feels good.”

After leading by 10 at halftime, FAU (4-21, 5-7 Conference USA) saw its lead grow to 26 with 8:26 left in the game. But a late 25-12 UTSA (7-18, 2-10 Conference USA) scoring run in the last five minutes helped them come as close as five points to the Owls.

A string of missed free throws played a part in reducing the Owls’ large lead, as they struggled to convert from the line. After going 2-of-2 from the free-throw line in the first half, FAU players went 9-of-19 for the rest of the game.

“You’re always concerned in the game, but I just thought we lost our focus with the distraction at the end,” Curry said. “We’ve been a pretty good free throw shooting team all year. Free throws are tricky. You don’t want to ever lose your concentration at the line as a team because it can carry some games.”

Freshman forward Jeantal Cylla may have had the biggest offensive impact on the game’s course for the Owls. After previously recording 22 points in their last matchup versus the Roadrunners, Cylla bested that scoring total with 24 points while leading the Owls in rebounding with 12.

Cylla fell one point shy of his career-high 25, which he reached on Jan. 21 at UTEP.

Sophomore center Ronald Delph registered 10 points in the second half after not recording a basket in the first half. Delph would see his night end early with 1:06 left in the game after getting wrapped up with UTSA’s Nick Billingsley.

“I didn’t see it,” Curry said of the call. “It’s a flagrant two, we’ll figure things out when they write the report.”

Delph received a flagrant two foul and will have to miss the first half of Saturday’s game for his involvement in the scuffle, while Billingsley was charged with two fouls on the play.

Tonight was the first game back for junior Adonis Filer, who missed the Owls’ last game versus UAB due to a concussion suffered in practice. Filer tallied nine points in his comeback.

Every Owl who played registered at least one basket during the game.

UTSA has now lost its last seven games and eight of its last nine. With the win, FAU has a chance to move up in the C-USA standings pending tonight’s results.

FAU finishes off its homestand with a matchup against the University of Texas at El Paso Miners on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Ryan Lynch is the multimedia editor of the University Press. For tips regarding this or other articles, he can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter.