Men’s Basketball: Owls fall in a 68-66 home thriller against Miami

Michael Forrest led the team with 21 points, followed by 17 from Alijah Martin.


Eston Parker III

Michael Forrest (#11) looks for an open teammate against Miami on Nov. 16, 2021. He had a team-high 21 points in the loss.

Bryce Totz, Staff Writer

The FAU men’s basketball team (1-2) fell 68-66 to the University of Miami (2-1) in the Burrow at Abessinio Court Tuesday evening. This was the first time in 19 years that the Owls hosted Miami for a basketball game. 

The Owls started slow, as they showed “jitters” in front of a home crowd that had 2,772 people attend the game. The maximum capacity in the arena is 2,900.

“[I] kind of got the jitters a little bit in the beginning because of how loud everything was,” sophomore guard Bryan Greenlee said. 

The Owls scored just 20 points in the first half, turned the ball over 11 times, and committed 11 fouls.

On FAU’s first possession of the game, junior guard Michael Forrest turned the ball over as he threw it into the crowd. 

The Owls’ first score came from a free-throw by freshman center Vladislav Goldin, but it would be the only score until graduate forward Bitumba Baruti made a deep two-pointer about three and a half minutes into the game. 

Six and a half minutes into the game, FAU trailed 15-3. Nine minutes into the game, however, freshman guard Alijah Martin stole the ball and had a solo fastbreak to easily slam the ball through the hoop for FAU.

At halftime, the Owls trailed 34-20 and shot 42.9% from the field. They struggled at the free-throw line, going 1-8.

When the second half began, Martin and Forrest took over the game. In the first half, they combined for only seven points, and scored a combined 31 of the team’s 46 in the second. Martin also had five rebounds during that period.

“I can’t imagine there is a better rebounding guard in our conference [than Martin],” head coach Dusty May said. 

The Owls opened the second half with an 8-2 run, with each of those scores coming from Martin and Forrest. Their momentum halted after Goldin was charged with a technical foul just over four minutes into the half. 

With less than 10 minutes to go, the Hurricanes led 49-37.

“[The team] felt like we had another run, and we made the last eight minutes very interesting,” May said. 

FAU worked their way back, and tied the game at 66 with 16 seconds to go after Forrest cleaned up a missed free-throw and made a three-pointer from the right corner.

Despite the Owls’ efforts, Miami got the game-winning shot with 0.7 seconds left in the game.  

Both Goldin and Baruti fouled out before the game ended. 

Free-throws played a major role in the loss as the Owls shot 10-24 from there, compared to the Hurricanes’ 30-38 shooting. 

FAU will continue the homestand as the Paradise Classic begins on Friday. The Owls will play UT Martin at the Burrow on Friday at 6 p.m. and it will be broadcast on C-USA TV. 

Bryce Totz is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected], or tweet him @brycetotz.