Mens Basketball: Owls clinch spot in Conference USA tournament with 74-54 win over North Texas

Justin Massey had a game-high 24 points on Senior Night


FAU senior guard Justin Massey (2) powered through Middle Tennessee’s defense to get a layup in. FAU went on to lose against MTSU 61-57 on Jan. 6. Joshua Giron | Photo Editor

Matt Brown, Contributing Writer

FAU Men’s Basketball clinched a spot in the C-USA tournament with a 74-54 win over North Texas on Senior night Saturday.

This is just the Owls (12-16, 6-10 C-USA) second win in the last seven games. They have yet to win two games in a row since a three-game win streak from Jan. 11-18.

“Today was more about the seniors and our appreciation for them,” said FAU men’s basketball head coach Michael Curry. “…Building a program with the right type of student athletes is what this class of seniors has done and (they) continue to raise the bar.”

The loss extends the Mean Green (14-15, 7-9 C-USA) to a season-long five game losing streak.

After the Owls scored the first seven points of the game and went up 10-2 early, North Texas went on a 12-2 run, including an 8-0 run where they made four straight baskets to take the 14-12 lead with a little over 10 minutes to go in the first half.

After that, both teams exchanged baskets for the next couple minutes, with North Texas taking a 26-22 lead with 5:30 to go in the half.

The Owls eventually finished the half going on a 12-0 run, with senior guard Justin Massey contributing 10 of those points, to take a 34-26 lead at the break.

In the first four minutes of the second half, the Mean Green slowly cut into the Owls lead bit-by-bit, going on a 11-6 run to trail by three, 40-37, with 16:28 on the clock. Forward Tope Arikawe and guard Ryan Woolridge contributed nine of those.

Holding a 42-39 lead with 16:28 to go in the game, the Owls went on a 19-6 run where Massey, graduate student guard Payton Hulsey and senior guard Gerdarius Troutman combined to score all of those points to take a 16-point lead with 10 minutes to go in the game.

The Owls didn’t look back after that, extending the lead to a game high 27, 74-47, with four minutes to play.

The Mean Green couldn’t get any closer than 20 after that, with the Owls eventually getting the 74-54 victory.

The Owls are now tied for eighth in the conference at 6-10, with three teams tied for seventh at 7-9. They have two games remaining to help better their seeding.

“We have got a tough road trip in ODU and Charlotte,” said Curry. “We always talk about this time of year. It becomes to the desire of wanting to keep playing, we’re not worried about seeding, the reality is let’s play good basketball, let’s get to a neutral court.”

In their last home game at FAU, the Owls seniors made it count, with four of the five scoring in double digits.

Massey had 17 points at the half in just 12 minutes of play. He finished with a game high 24 points, his highest scoring output since scoring a career high 31 against Bethune Cookman back on Dec. 2.

He shot 6-of-12 overall and made nine of his 10 free throw attempts.

He has scored in double figures in five straight games and 17 of the team’s 28 games overall.

Troutman had 19 points on 4-of-8 shooting overall.

Redshirt senior center Ronald Delph, had 11 points on 50 percent shooting. He also grabbed four rebounds.

Hulsey added 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds. He also dished out a game-high five assists.  

Senior forward William Pfister grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds while adding three assists. He also scored four points on 50 percent shooting.

The Mean Green were led by guard A.J Lawson. He had a team-high 12 points and tied the team-high of eight rebounds.

Forward Tope Arikawe also grabbed eight rebounds while scoring nine on 4-of-7 shooting.

The Owls have next game is at Old Dominion on Thursday March 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Matt Brown is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @mattyb407.