Men’s Basketball: Owls rout South Alabama 84-59 to match best start since 2018

FAU had lost the previous five matchups between the two programs.


Nicholas Windfelder

Senior guard Michael Forrest going for a heavily contested layup against South Alabama on Nov. 30, 2022.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

The FAU Owls (6-1) dominated the University of South Alabama Jaguars (3-5) in an 84-59 victory Wednesday night at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena in Boca Raton, Fla.

The victory, which broke the Jaguars’ streak of five consecutive wins over FAU, moves the Owls to 6-1 — their best start since 2018 when they started off with the same record.

“This means absolutely nothing,” said head coach Dusty May regarding his message to the team amidst their fast start. “This team can be special if we continue to improve. Our teams the last four years have gotten better throughout the season. That can’t change because of early success.”

The Owls, who entered the matchup holding opponents to a conference-best 37.3 field-goal percentage, continued their streak of stellar defensive performances Wednesday night.

After conceding the opening the first points of the game to the Jaguars, FAU went on a 20-2 run in the next 10 minutes to take a commanding 20-4 lead.

The Owls slowed down offensively as the first half continued, allowing South Alabama to slim their lead to 29-20 heading into halftime. 

“We missed five or six point-blank shots that we normally make, which is a tribute to the way they guard,” May said on the Owls’ drought late in the first half. “But I do think in the second half, we got used to the way they guard and the guys were able to finish at the rim.”

Junior guard Brandon Weatherspoon was the Owls’ leading scorer at halftime with nine points, all from behind the three-point line, along with two rebounds. The Owls had an efficient first half, shooting 44.4% from the field and 57.1% from three-point range. 

FAU came out of the intermission firing on all cylinders, extending its lead to as much as 27 in the second half.

With 14:07 in the second half, senior guard Michael Forrest knocked down his second three-pointer of the half, followed by a slam dunk off a fast break from Weatherspoon two minutes later, putting them ahead 48-35.

Although he didn’t see the floor until the 11:20 mark in the second half, sophomore guard Isaiah Gaines made his presence almost immediately. About a minute after checking into the game, Gaines, who finished with six points, four rebounds, and an assist, nailed a mid-range jumper, pushing the Owls’ lead to 18.

“[Gaines] has an amazing amount of talent. He’s probably our best one-on-one defender, so he’s impacted a lot of games this year despite not scoring a lot of points,” said May. “This is the first time he looked really comfortable offensively.”

With 2:36 left in regulation, Weatherspoon continued his fantastic performance with his fourth three-pointer of the night to extend FAU’s lead to 23 late in the second half. 

Despite coming off the bench, Forrest finished the night as the Owls’ leading scorer with 17 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Weatherspoon followed with 16 points and three rebounds. 

“We have so many weapons. Everyone is sacrificing minutes and shots,” said May. “The thing that’s most pleasing is how unselfish we looked as a group. These guys really care for each other.”

The Owls will now travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., to face the Eastern Michigan University Eagles (2-6) on Sunday, Nov. 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+. 

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