Men’s Basketball: Owls snap four game losing streak with a 77-72 win over FIU

Ronald Delph scored a season high 24 points in the victory


FAU Men’s basketball head coach Michael Curry yells at the referee for a call he disagreed with during the first half against MTSU on Jan. 6. Alexander Rodriguez | Senior Photographer

Matt Brown, Contributing Writer

FAU men’s basketball ended its four game losing streak after a 77-72 win over FIU Saturday afternoon.

With the win the Owls (11-15, 5-9 C-USA) are now ranked 10th in the conference. They hold the advantage over FIU, who has the same conference record, due to then having one less loss overall.

The Owls have just won two of their last eight games played.

The Panthers (11-16, 5-9) lose their third straight game and fifth of their last seven.

The first half was a back and forth affair where each team exchanged baskets continuously, with each team’s biggest lead being just five. The score was tied eight times and there were five lead changes.

The team’s shot nearly identical in the first half, with the Panthers making 17 of their 32 shot attempts while the Owls made 15 of their 32 shot attempts.

FIU also outrebounded the Owls by one, 17-16, in the first half.

It was more of the same in the second half. After scoring the first five points of the second half, FIU went ahead 47-39 to take an 8-point lead, the largest of the game.

The Owls quickly answered back, going on a 17-4 run over the next nine minutes to take a 56-51 lead with 10:29 left in the game.

The Panthers regained the lead, 57-56, with 8:25 left to play.

A three-pointer by senior guard Justin Massey gave the Owls a 67-66 lead with 4:17 left in game. FIU then reclaimed the lead, 70-69, with just under two minutes to go.

After several missed shot attempts and offensive rebounds, the Owls took the lead 72-70 after a three pointer by senior guard Gerdarius Troutman with 45 seconds on the clock.

After a missed layup, Ronald Delph made two free throws to take a 74-70 lead with 23 seconds left. The Panthers then drove down and got within two after a layup with 15 seconds left.

Troutman would then go onto make both free throws to extend his team’s lead back to four, 76-72.

On the next possession, sophomore forward Jailyn Ingram stole the ball and the game from the Panthers. After he was fouled he made one of his two free throws to officially ice the game and get the 77-72 win.

Throughout the game, the two rivals were very even in a few statistical categories.

They both made 27 of their shot attempts. The Panthers were 27-of-59, making 45.8 percent of their shots while the Owls were 27-of-60, making 45 percent of their shots

They both made 15 of their free throw attempts. The Owls were nearly perfect, shooting 15-of-16 with the Panthers shooting 15-of-20.

The Panthers had one more steal than the Owls, 8-7.

FAU scored 20 points off the Panthers 15 turnovers while FIU scored 19 points off of FAU’s 12 turnovers.

They key difference in the game was the Owls outshot the Panthers from three-point range. The Owls shot 42 percent overall, going 8-of-19.

The Panthers could only make three of their 14 attempts, shooting 21 percent overall.

Overall the score was tied fifteen times, with 14 lead changes.

“We knew it would be a close game,” said FAU head coach Michael Curry. “When you look at all the numbers we are very similar team wise… We expected it to be a close game. We talked all week about possession game and things we need to do to make sure we were in position to get key stops, to get key baskets, and to make key free throws.”

The Owls were led by Delph who shot 11-of-18 overall for a season high 24 points. He also grabbed six rebounds and had two assists.

“He stayed in the game with foul trouble,” said Curry when asked what most impressed him about Delph. “He didn’t take himself out mentally. Stayed in the game, let the game come to him and was able to score and be big in the paint.”

Senior guard Justin Massey shot 50 percent overall for 18 points.

Troutman had 17 points along with being perfect from the free throw line, going 4-for-4.

The Panthers were led by guard Eric Lockett, who posted a double-double. He shot 56 percent overall for 19 points, along with grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds.

Guard Brian Beard Jr. scored a team high 20 points while going 7-of-8 from the charity stripe.

The Owls next game is at home on Thursday, Feb. 22 against Rice 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.