Men’s Basketball: Owls cruise to a 78-56 victory against Warner in home opener

Alijah Martin scored a team-high 17 points to get FAU its first win of the season.


Eston Parker III

Alijah Martin (#15) handles the ball against Warner on Nov. 13, 2021.

Richard Pereira, Sports Editor

The FAU men’s basketball squad (1-1) hosted Warner University (3-2) in the Burrow at Abessinio Court Saturday afternoon. After a slow start, the Owls coasted to a 78-56 victory over the Royals.

Both teams were sluggish halfway into the first half, combining for a 7-30 from the field. Despite missing three of its first 15 shots, FAU had the 12-8 lead.

“Our message was to just play the right way and the shots will eventually fall,” said head coach Dusty May. 

With 4:40 to go in the first half, freshman guard Alijah Martin had a great highlight as he drove inside the paint and threw down an emphatic two-handed slam dunk, hyping FAU fans. 

Once halftime came around, Martin led the way with 13 points on 4-5 shooting as the Owls outscored the Royals 19-13 to take a 32-21 lead. FAU succeeded  in locking down the perimeter, limiting Warner to only five shots from the three-point line.

FAU’s offense ignited to begin the second half, scoring 12 straight points to give the team a 19-point lead with 15:08 remaining. The run featured back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guard Brandon Weatherspoon, who went on a scorching stretch to light up the Warner defense.

“That happened [quickly] and that was just a result of getting a jolt of energy,” May said.

The Owls overpowered the Royals offensively, winning the scoring battle 46-35. FAU improved its shooting accuracy, getting 18 of its 42 shots in the net for the second half.

“At halftime, we just came together and played the right way,” Martin said.

Sophomore guard Bryan Greenlee and freshman guard Bogdan Zimonjic made their season debuts, combining for 11 points respectively. Greenlee returned from an ankle injury that kept him from playing in the season opener.

“It was nice to have [Greenlee] back as another contributor. Obviously, he’s gonna play better than that as the season progresses,” May said. “[Zimonjic] did some really good things in the second half; he came in, played well, made shots, and took on the challenge of guarding [Warner’s] best player and stopped him a couple of times.”

FAU’s best performer was Martin, who led the team in points with 17 on 6-12 shooting and got five rebounds to go along with it. Weatherspoon joined him as the only Owls in double-figures, scoring 15 points and four boards.

“Just letting the game come to me and not trying to go out there and take it [because] that’s when you start performing bad,” Martin said. “You just let the game come to you at some point in time.”

For the Royals, junior guard Darryl Mercer had a game-high 19 points on 42.1% shooting. The only other player who scored in double-digits was freshman guard Johnathan Joseph with 13. 

The Owls will play the second of their nine-game homestand against the University of Miami on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

Richard Pereira is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.