Men’s Basketball: Rice escapes FAU’s second-half rally in shootout

After leading by nine at the end of the first half, FAU nearly regains lead in second half


Owls redshirt junior guard Adonis Filer (3) attempts a layup during the Owls’ 89-82 loss to UTEP on Feb. 20. Mohammed F. Emran |Staff Photographer

Chris Libreros, Contributing Writer

In a highly contested matchup between the two Owls of Conference USA, Florida Atlantic men’s basketball fell just short of earning its second conference road win under head coach Michael Curry in an 85-90 loss against the Rice Owls.

Rice junior center Andrew Drone scored the game-deciding layup off an inbounds play with 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give Rice an 86-84 lead that FAU was unable to recover from.

In a shootout that featured both teams shooting better than 50 percent from both inside and outside of the three-point line, the FAU Owls could not hang on to their first-half lead as the Rice Owls proved to be too much in the second half.

Conference USA leader in steals, Rice freshman Marcus Evans, finished with his average of two steals to accompany his game-high 29 points. Twenty of the freshman’s points came in the second half.

FAU led by 12 as part of a first-half run when the Owls nearly closed the half on a 17-2 run. This was before a last-second 3-pointer made by Rice senior Owl Max Guercy cut the FAU lead to single digits, 49-40.

FAU struggled to keep this lead as Rice opened up the second half on a 12-5 run.

Florida-based Owls’ senior Solomon Poole and junior Marquan Botley were electric off the bench — shooting a combined 6-of-7 from deep and scoring 11 points each in the first half.

Poole and Botley finished the game scoring 33 combined points off the bench. Poole scored 14 on 4-of-7 shooting from the three-point arc, while Botley finished the game shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the three and scoring the team-high 19 points.

The loss is FAU’s second straight and fourth in its last five games. The team will travel to North Texas to take on the Mean Green on Saturday, Feb. 20. at 8 p.m.

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