Back in action for the first time since a three-point home loss to Charlotte on Jan. 23, the FAU Owls (8-8, 3-4 C-USA) lost an 84-80 shootout on Friday night at the University of Texas at San Antonio (11-9, 7-6 C-USA) in a fast-paced game that came down to the final moments. The defeat dropped the Owls to .500 on the year and below .500 in the conference.
Playing through a back injury suffered during the contest, sophomore guard Kenan Blackshear kept the Owls close with a double-double, piling up 20 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Michael Forrest poured in 18 points and hit four three-pointers in the losing effort. Freshman guard Alijah Martin added 11 points off the bench, shooting 3-6 from beyond the arc.
UTSA’s sophomore center Jacob Germany obliterated the Owls all night, racking up a monstrous 26-point, 12-rebound night, shooting 13-21 from the field. Germany killed the Owls from midrange and in the post, showing a flashy, effective jump hook repeatedly on them. Germany also threw down a breathtaking one-handed alley-oop dunk in the second half from senior guard Jhivvan Jackson.
Jackson had a game-high 30 points for the Roadrunners, pushing the pace with his speed to get easy layups and drilling four three-pointers on the night. Jackson was a blur, blowing by FAU defenders over and over to get looks at the rim and easy looks for his teammates.
FAU was rusty early, as the Roadrunners sprinted to an early 15-4 lead. The Owls got back into the game with their defense and three-point shooting, throwing zone, man-to-man, and switching defenses at the Roadrunners to slow them down. It worked, as a 13-4 run capped by two threes from Martin late in the first half knotted the score at 37. The Roadrunners led 44-41 at the break.
The Owls were able to get the Roadrunners in the penalty early in the second half and took their first lead, 55-54, with 12:48 remaining. The Owls stopped attacking the paint however, missing eight of their next nine shots, and the Roadrunners quickly took the lead back and kept it a two-possession game for much of the final 10 minutes.
FAU’s last real chance came with 3:30 remaining in the game trailing 73-68, but Jackson drilled a fall-away three-pointer from the wing to extend the Roadrunners’ lead to eight.
The game appeared to be over, with the Roadrunners at one point leading 80-70 with 33 seconds to play. Sloppy play from UTSA allowed the Owls back into the game. Blackshear hit a three, the Roadrunners turned it over, and Forrest hit a three. Two Jackson free throws made it 82-76 Roadrunners, but Blackshear nailed a fall-away three plus the foul for a four-point play to cut the lead to 82-80.
UTSA senior guard Keaton Wallace iced the game at the line with two free-throws.
The game was there for the taking, but FAU’s untimely scoring drought in the second half did them in.
FAU will return on Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. for another clash with UTSA. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Michael Gennaro is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or follow him on Instagram @mycoolgennaro.