Men’s Basketball: FAU defeats UTSA to advance to the second round of the conference tournament

The win marks the Owls' first conference tournament victory since joining Conference USA.

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FAU senior guard Adonis Filer (3) led the Owls with nine points in Friday's loss to Texas State. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photographer

Hans Belot Jr, Contributing Writer

The Florida Atlantic men’s basketball continued its conference championship run by defeating the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners 82-58 to advance into the second round of the Conference USA tournament.

FAU (8-24, 6-13 C-USA) shot 49 percent from the field, including 8-of-17 from behind the three-point line, while holding UTSA (5-27, 3-15 C-USA) to only 34 percent shooting and 26 percent from the three-point line.

The Owls opened the second half on a 15-4 run to open a 15 point lead, their biggest of the game. They extended that to a 26-point lead with 9:44 left after a pair of 3-pointers by Botley, but an ensuing 9-0 run by UTSA cut the lead down to 17 with 7:50 left.

However, the Owls were able extend the lead back up with their own 9-0 run and closed out the game to advance in the tournament.

FAU’s balanced scoring was led by junior guard Marquan Botley’s 24 points off the bench, and a career high of 19 points to go along with eight rebounds for sophomore center Ronald Delph.

After both teams began the game trading buckets back and forth, UTSA’s second leading scorer sophomore guard Christian Wilson went out of the game with an apparent injury which allowed the Owls to go on an ensuing 14-2 run and take an 11-point lead. The Roadrunners then closed the quarter on a 17-10 run to cut FAU’s lead down to four heading into halftime, 31-27.

Despite the Owls shooting 46 percent from the field in the half, FAU only shot 1-7 from the three-point line and committed 12 turnovers, which led to 15 points off the takeaways for UTSA.

Even though the Roadrunners only shot 36 percent from the field in the first half, junior guard J.R. Harris took over the scoring duties after Wilson’s injury and UTSA’s leading scorer senior guard Ryan Bowie struggling from the field.

After Harris scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting at the half, including being the only Roadrunner to make a 3-pointer, going 4-for-6 from deep, he was held to only five second half points and 2-for-6 from the field to finish with a team high 21 points.

FAU played a much better second half both offensively and defensively. The Owls shot 51 percent from the field in the half, including 7-for-10 from three while holding UTSA to only 33 percent shooting and 2-11 from the field.

After the turnovers barrage in the first half, the Owls only turned it over seven times in the second half and gave away only six points off those takeaways.

FAU will now take on the fifth seeded Old Dominion Monarchs at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, and it will be broadcast on the American Sports Network.

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