Men’s Basketball: Shorthanded FAU struggles on the road against Conference USA’s first place UAB Blazers

The Owls have now lost three of their last four games


Freshman forward Jesse Hill shoots a jupshot during the Owls 78-66 loss to Old Dominion on Jan 28. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photographer

Chris Libreros, Contributing Writer

Technical fouls became a common occurrence for both teams after tensions ran high for a frustrated Florida Atlantic team that was in the midst of being handed its largest defeat of the season, in a one-sided 67-104 Saturday night loss.

Things escalated at the midway point of the second half when University of Alabama at Birmingham guard Tyler Madison and Florida Atlantic guard Solomon Poole traded dunks that led to an exchange of words between Poole and Blazers’ forward Tosin Mehinti, earning the two players a technical foul.  

Florida Atlantic (6-18, 4-7 C-USA) was the major underdog entering Saturday’s matchup against Conference USA’s first place UAB Blazers (20-4,10-1 C-USA).

But that task would become significantly more difficult after the Owls would lose their leading scorer Adonis Filer after he suffered from concussion-like symptoms during pregame warmups.

The lead went back and forth for a solid portion of the first half, but before long the Blazers found a rhythm that turned a competitive game into a blowout. UAB closed the final eight minutes of the first half on a 22-5 run where the Owls shot a disappointing 2-of-17.

This continued in the second half when the Blazers jumped out to an 11-0 run, eventually leading to a game-high 41-point lead with 10 minutes left in the second half.

Dominant rim protection and tenacious rebounding plagued the Owls as well in its loss to UAB.

FAU struggled to find much at the rim, where UAB forward William Lee recorded eight blocks in the first half. With Lee altering shots and turning the Owls into a perimeter team, they continued to struggle — shooting 29 percent from the field in the first half and 34 percent for the night, making 21-of-62.

Rebounding also hurt the Owls, as it has all season long. The Blazers finished with 48 rebounds, more than doubling FAU’s 21.

UAB was led by forward Chris Cokley’s 14 points, as well as the team’s ball movement. It was a balanced offensive attack with seven UAB players reaching double figures and the team shooting 60 percent from the field.

The Owls have now lost three of their last four games.

Florida Atlantic will look to bounce back at home on Thursday, Feb. 11, against the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners (4-20, 2-9 C-USA).

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