Men’s basketball: Second half run falls short of overcoming early deficit in loss versus Middle Tennessee

Owls unable to keep momentum behind 15 turnovers and 23 personal fouls


ODU forward Brandan Stith (25) and FAU guard Jackson Trapp (12) fight for a rebound early in the second half of the Owls’ 78-66 loss on Jan 28. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Chris Libreros, Contributing Writer

In its first matchup of the season, Florida Atlantic men’s basketball got a first hand look at what makes the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders one of the top teams in the conference during Thursday night’s 85-73 loss.

FAU (6-17, 4-6 C-USA) led early on in the game for the first minute and a half before a Jacob Ivory layup gave MTSU (16-6, 8-2 C-USA) a 7-5 lead that the Blue Raiders never surrendered, en route to their 16th win of the season.

FAU’s first half made what was already a formidable opponent even more dangerous by turning the ball over nine times and giving up 11 offensive rebounds to MTSU in the first half. This was only two rebounds shy of tying the Owls’ 13 total rebounds in the same half.

Florida Atlantic trailed at the half 32-45.

In the second half, the Owls cut the lead down to seven behind the continued hot shooting of junior guard Marquan Botley, who sparked the offense scoring 11 straight for FAU. Middle Tennessee answered back with a 10-4 run that halted FAU’s momentum before Botley fouled out late in the second half.

It was a physical battle as both teams racked up a combined 55 personal fouls in the game.

The Owls were led by sophomore center Ronald Delph, who had his second double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Forward Reggie Upshaw led the MTSU offense scoring 19 points and eight rebounds for a balanced attack that saw four players scoring in double figures.

Florida Atlantic will try to regroup when it visits the conference’s top team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Christopher Libreros 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