FAU wins season opener against the Flagler Saints, 92-81

FAU finished the game with 21 turnovers, one shy of Flagler’s 20 turnovers.


Graduate student Cornelius Taylor scored a team-high 20 points against the Flagler Saints. Photo by: Michael Hoyos.

Zachary Weinberger , Sports Editor

In the season opener for the men’s basketball team, the Owls protect home court and beat the Flagler Saints Tuesday night, 92-81.


While the final score might say otherwise, it was a tale of two halves for FAU. The first half consisted of clean basketball on both ends of the floor, including a halftime lead of 21 points.


The second half was a different story. The Saints outscored the Owls, 49-39, and at one point of the game, FAU’s lead was cut down to just five points. 


When that big run by the opposition was happening, head coach Dusty May talked about the advice he gave to the team to keep focus. 


“Communicating defensively, we’re a really good defensive team in the first half,” May said after the game. “When they get away from us, we tend to have a lot of communication breakdowns.”


Offensive fouls and turnovers hurt FAU in the remaining half of the game, as they finished the game with 21 turnovers compared to Flagler’s 20. Fourteen of FAU’s 21 turnovers came in the second half alone. The Owls made 65% from the free throw line, making 15 out of 23 shots. 


“I thought we played really well for the first 20 minutes, but the last 15 showed that we let our guard down,” May said after the game. “Our transition defense struggled and especially with a lot of our guys on minute restrictions due to injury.”


When things weren’t looking good, graduate student and newcomer Cornelius Taylor iced the game to where Flagler couldn’t come back. Taylor finished the night with a team-high 20 points while shooting 70 percent from the floor. 


“I thought he was very aggressive offensively when we needed it,” May said. “Cornelius was a four year starter at a top five Division II school so I wasn’t surprised by his performance, he’s done it many times in practice.”


One of the big stories going into the season was the usage of junior forward Jailyn Ingram coming off a season-ending injury last year. Last season, he led the team in points (18.9) and rebounds (8.2) in the 10 games he played.


Ingram played only 14 minutes, scoring 4 points and collecting a rebound. He only attempted four shots the whole game in what was his first regular season game since Dec. 14, 2018. 


Ingram talks about how he felt stepping on the floor for the first time with his teammates. 


“I felt pretty confident honestly because I worked hard through the whole process,” Ingram said. “I feel like if you go out there half-stepping and with mental lapses, I feel that’s how you reinjure yourself, so I just went out there on full speed.”


While FAU is definitely relieved to get the first win out of the way, they have a lot to work out on the field. If the Owls clean up the turnovers, avoid offensive fouls and make more of their free throw attempts, they can be competitive not only against big-name teams, but also in the conference.


Their next game is a massive one against the Miami Hurricanes in Coral Gables. Tip off is at 7 p.m. at the Watsco Center. 


Zachary Weinberger is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger.