Men’s Basketball: Owls falter in a 76-65 defeat at UAB

The Owls decline to a 1-5 record on the road.


Courtesy of FAU Athletics

Bryan Greenlee (#4) had seven points on 2-8 shooting in the loss at UAB on Jan. 15, 2022.

Richard Pereira, Business Manager

FAU men’s basketball (8-8, 1-2 C-USA) went to Birmingham, Ala. to take on the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers (15-4, 5-1 C-USA) Saturday afternoon. Despite leading early in the second half, FAU couldn’t hold on as the team fell 76-65, unable to deny the Blazers’ advances.

The Owls started out rough in the first half. They went down 18-7 within the first eight minutes as they took heavily contested shots due to UAB imposing good defense.

After the tough start, FAU got back on track. As sophomore guard Alijah Martin and graduate forward Bitumba Baruti made multiple jumpshots, the Owls outscored the Blazers 24-13 to enter halftime tied at 31 points apiece.

“I thought our bench came in and gave us a spark,” head coach Dusty May said. “We adjusted to their size as they’re one of the biggest physically-opposing teams. I think our guys got used to that a little bit and adjusted to the way they’re being defended. Overall, we did some good things. I wish we had about eight or 10 minutes back that we could redo.”

The Owls maintained the momentum they had entering halftime to start the second half. They had a 49-42 lead halfway through with Martin making two three-pointers, continuing his assertion from the previous half. 

Unfortunately for FAU, UAB took over for the rest of the game. The Blazers suffocated the Owls defensively while converting crucial shots in the final minutes of the game, outscoring them 34-16 to seal the victory.

“We’re a better team now than we were 24 hours ago. It’s part of the process. We’re very proud of our young guys with the way they competed and battled to hold their own on the glass,” May said. “The guys were trying to get them out as quickly as possible to get on the road. They were obviously disappointed with the outcome, but I do think that they’re proud of their competitive spirit.”

Martin highlighted FAU’s best moments of the game, finishing with a team-high 16 points, eight rebounds, and two assists on 6-15 shooting. Sophomore forward Giancarlo Rosado contributed with 10 points off the bench for the Owls.

After scoring only three points in Thursday’s loss at Middle Tennessee, senior guard Michael Forrest had a 12-point performance on three out of eight shot attempts.

“[Michael Forrest] is adjusting to being the focal point of everyone’s scouting report of the offense and the report points out when [he] scores from three, we typically win and when [he] doesn’t score from three, we’ve had trouble scoring points to get over the hump,” May said. “I have to find different ways to put him in position to be successful, but he’s making the team better with his passing and his ability to space the floor.”

Two players represented UAB with their incredible performances: guards Quan Jackson and Jordan Walker. Jackson scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed four rebounds with a shooting accuracy of 61.1% from the field while Walker put up 27 points, five rebounds, and five assists on 9-19 shooting.

Finishing the three-game road trip, the Owls return home to the Burrow at Abessinio Court on Monday, Jan. 17, taking on Charlotte at 4 p.m. C-USA TV will head the broadcast of the match. 

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