Men’s Basketball: Owls coast past conference rival MTSU 85-67

The Owls remain undefeated in conference play as they reach 20 wins for only the second time in school history.


Nicholas Windfelder

Alijah Martin rushes the hoop with an open court after a turnover from MTSU on Jan 26, 2023.

Robert Griffin, Contributing Writer

In their first home appearance since being ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, the #21 FAU Owls (20-1, 10-0 C-USA) picked up another win in conference play with a 85-67 victory over the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders (MTSU)(13-8, 6-4 C-USA) Thursday night at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena. 

“That’s the beauty of this team, it’s a common goal of winning. We understand that each night it’s someone different,” said head coach Dusty May. “When you have this many people that are capable and talented pulling in the same direction, you can do some special things.”

The 18-point victory came in front of a crowd of 3,082—a new stadium record. The win also marks the second time in program history the Owls have achieved 20 wins in a season.

“We just talk about staying focused and being humble about it,” said sophomore guard Nicholas Boyd following the Owls’ nineteenth straight victory. “Just following the coach’s footsteps, he comes in everyday ready to work and we feed off that energy.”

After the Owls missed their first eight attempts from the floor, senior guard Michael Forrest got them on the board with a turnaround jumper slimming the early deficit to 5-2. Sophomore forward Giancarlo Rosado gave the Owls a much needed spark off the bench with a quick six points, bringing the Owls within one. 

MTSU held the lead until around halfway through the first half. That was until sophomore guard Johnell Davis sank his first three of the night which gave the Owls their first lead of the night at 15-13.

Davis continued his fantastic first half performance with another make from behind the arc which extended the Owls’ lead to 26-21 with 5:57 till halftime.

The Owls defense forced 10 first half turnovers and capitalized on them down the stretch to extend their lead to 38-30 at the end of the first half. 

Despite the eight point lead, FAU was shooting an uncharacteristic 30% from the three-point range, but finished shooting 48% from the field to end the first half.

Junior guard Bryan Greenlee opened up the second half scoring on back-to-back possessions with a three point shot and a fastbreak layup to stretch the lead to 43-32.

Boyd pushed the Owls’ lead to 53-44 with a pair of threes after a seven-point scoring run by MTSU brought them within three points. 

Despite the late push by the Blue Raiders, the Owls scoring picked up as they went on an eight-point scoring run to extend the lead to 65-51 with 8:05 left in the second half. 

FAU’s bench played a major role in the victory, outscoring the opposing bench 52-22.

The Owls continued to display stellar defense to close the game, holding MTSU to just seven points in the last five minutes of regulation to seal the 18-point victory. 

Davis finished the night as the Owls’ leading scorer with 25 points, shooting an efficient 75% from  three-point range. Boyd and sophomore guard Alijah Martin followed up with 13 points each. 

As a team, the Owls closed the night shooting 53% from the field and 35% from behind the arc. 

The Owls will now have a quick turnaround, as they prepare to take on the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers (11-10, 3-7 C-USA) on Saturday, Jan 28. Tip off is scheduled for 4 p.m and will be broadcast on Stadium Sports Network.

Robert Griffin is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].