Men’s basketball: FAU defeats UTSA, clinches conference tournament spot

The Owls will be taking part of the Conference USA tournament for the fourth consecutive year.


Senior Adonis Filer scored 20 points in his final game at FAU Arena. Alexander Rodriguez | Contributing Photographer

Hans Belot Jr., Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic men’s basketball defeated the University of Texas at San Antonio 73-66 Thursday night in Boca Raton to clinch its fourth straight Conference USA tournament berth.

The Owls (10-17, 6-10 Conference USA) saw what was a 16-point second-half lead cut to seven points with 1:54 remaining in the game, but FAU knocked down three of its last four shots and five of its last six free throws to close it out.

FAU shot 44 percent from the field, including 5-of-17 from three-point land. FAU also forced 15 turnovers from the Roadrunners and outscored them in the paint 36-26.

“It was good to get this win here tonight,” said head coach Michael Curry. “We played good basketball. Hopefully we can finish these last two games well on the road and go to the conference tournament and do a good job.”

The Owls bench was once again big in this game, scoring or assisting on 45 of FAU’s points. Senior Adonis Filer, who was part of that group, led all-scorers with 20 points in his final game at FAU Arena.

FAU started the game by knocking down five of its first eight shots from the field, three of which were 3-pointers. However, FAU went cold from the field, knocking down just one of its next six shots between the 15:28 and the 9:20 mark.

The slump allowed what was a seven-point deficit for UTSA (12-17, 7-9 Conference USA) to turn into a tie game with six minutes left, holding the Owls scoreless during the stretch. However, FAU closed the half on a 15-7 run, taking a 36-29 lead into halftime.

It was a sloppy first half for both teams, who combined to shoot just 40.5 percent from the field and commit 16 turnovers. The Owls relied on a balanced scoring in the first 20-minute period, as nine of the 10 players who made an appearance scored.

The Owls knocked down six of their first 10 shots to begin the third quarter on a 12-2 run, extending their lead to 16 points, eight minutes into the second half.

FAU held UTSA to 38 percent shooting from the field, including just 3-for-11 from beyond the arc. The Roadrunners had four players scoring 10 points or more, led by freshman Giovanni De Nicolao’s 14 points.

FAU will travel to take on the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Thursday, March 2 at 8 p.m.

Hans Belot Jr. is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him at @Don_Phenom_.