Men’s Basketball: Owls begin Paradise Classic with a 75-67 win over UT Martin

Vladislav Goldin and Michael Forrest combined for 35 points for the Owls’ second win this season.

Gabriella Brito, Staff Writer

FAU men’s basketball (2-2) kicked off their first game of the Paradise Classic with a 75-67 victory against the University of Tennessee at Martin (1-2) Friday night in Abessinio Court.

With a turnover from the Skyhawks to start the half, freshman center Vladislav Goldin made the easy layup with an assist from junior guard Michael Forrest. 

Both teams were quick to get the ball moving and were consistent in scoring as they shot 50% from the field. They also came to a tie five times throughout the half. 

The Owls looked for any opportunity to gain possession of the ball and slow down the Skyhawks as Goldin had seven rebounds. 

With 30 seconds left in the first, Forrest tied the game 40-40 with his three-pointer. A quick response from the Skyhawks, that resulted in a missed shot, allowed Forrest to answer back with another shot from beyond the arc with 0.7 seconds left to close out the half up 43-40.

To begin the second half, the Owls were sensational and kept their rhythm alive as they went on a 7-0 run, putting them up by twelve points for the largest lead of the night. 

“I was very happy with our competitive spirit in the second half…even though we weren’t playing quite as well offensively, I do think we played with much more intensity and intention on the defensive end,” head coach Dusty May said. 

Compared to the Owls’ last game where missed free-throws contributed to their loss, this time around, the Owls were 13-18 overall while the Skyhawks trailed behind shooting 8-14. 

The Owls went scoreless for a brief moment and UT Martin’s highest scorer of the night, junior guard KJ Simon with 19 points, made shots in an effort to advance the score for the Skyhawks. 

“Credit to them, they did some creative things to get their drivers in space and then their drivers were very good at getting to the rim,” May said. 

Goldin and Forrest tag-teamed and continued to dominate on both ends of the floor keeping the score unattainable for the Skyhawks to surpass. 

“[Forrest] gave me some open shots and some opportunities. He’s done this before so it doesn’t surprise me anymore,” said Goldin. 

FAU also had help from its bench as graduate guard Everett Winchester had a season-high of 13 points and a game-high five assists. 

With 13 seconds remaining in the game, Forrest’s final free-throws were good and FAU claimed the win. 

“[I was] very pleased with Mike’s performance on the defensive end and obviously he made some big shots. I thought he let the game come to him…[and] got Vlad some easy baskets. Mike defensively is always a rock and does a great job at getting our guys together,” May said. 

Goldin topped it all off with a career-best of 18 points and had a team-high nine rebounds. 

“It was nice to see Vlad rewarded for his work. He’s such a hard worker, and so conscientious as a teammate. He changed and altered shots at the rim. He showed great determination and without a doubt he’s going to be better day by day, week by week, and month by month,” May said. 

The Paradise Classic will continue in the Burrow Saturday evening when the Owls take on the University of North Dakota for the first time in program history at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on C-USA TV. 

Gabriella Brito is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]om or tweet her @gaby1brito