Men’s Basketball: Owls cruise past FIU 79-53 to open conference play

Alijah Martin ended the night as the Owls’ leading scorer for the third consecutive game with 18 points.


Nicholas Windfelder

Sophomore forward Giancarlo Rosado attempting a free throw against FIU on Dec. 18, 2022.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

FAU men’s basketball (10-1, 1-0 C-USA) tallied their ninth consecutive win, a new program record, with a 79-53 victory over the Florida International University Panthers (4-6, 0-1 C-USA) Saturday afternoon at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena. 

Even as he led his squad on a record-setting winning streak, head coach Dusty May maintained that his and the team’s focus is on the rest of the season.

“That’s more for our fans and the staff to use in recruiting,” said May. “Our guys, they’re about their business.”

The game was closely contested through the opening five minutes, until the Owls went on a 10-point scoring run to take a comfortable lead in the first half. Senior guard Michael Forrest ended the run with his first three-pointer of the night to put FAU ahead by 10 with 11:54 left in the first half.

FAU went on another scoring run in the final 4:38 of the first half—this time for 17 unanswered points. With a second left in the first half, junior guard Bryan Greenlee sank two free throws to cap the run and leave the Owls with a 19-point advantage at halftime.

Despite shooting an efficient 48.5% from the field, FAU struggled from behind the arc in the first half, shooting just 30.8% from three-point range.

“Our shots weren’t dropping,” said May. “We didn’t shoot as well as we typically do, so for us not to shoot the ball well and still find a way to score enough points and tighten up defensively, I’m very proud of our guys.”

Sophomore guard Alijah Martin carried his stellar performance over to the second half with a three-point play on a spectacular up-and-under layup five minutes into the half.

Sophomore guard Johnell Davis followed that up a possession later with a three-pointer that extended the Owls’ lead to 22.

As the second half continued, so did the Panthers’ struggles on defense. With 8:23 in the second half, junior guard Brandon Weatherspoon ended a nine-point run by the Owls with a layup off an assist from sophomore center Vladislav Goldin.

Greenlee made his only shot of the night with 5:22 left in regulation, which left the Owls with their largest lead of the night at 32 points.

FAU remained strong on defense in the final minutes of regulation to finish the night with a 79-53 victory—their fifth consecutive victory over FIU.

Martin finished as the Owls’ leading scorer for the third consecutive game with 18 points, along with three rebounds and an assist. As a team, FAU shot 44.6% from the field and a rough 20.6% from three-point range. However, they made up for their struggles behind the arc by dominating the boards, out-rebounding the Panthers 42-26.

The Owls will now prepare to finish their four-game homestand on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. against the Northern Kentucky University Norse. The game will be broadcast on C-USA TV.

Cameron Priester is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron