Men’s Basketball: Owls survive 77-73 overtime thriller at FIU

The victory completes the series sweep for the Owls, following their victory over FIU in December 2022.

Nicole Vogt, Contributing Writer

FAU men’s basketball (15-1, 5-0 C-USA) extended their winning streak with a 77-73 overtime victory over the Florida International University Panthers (FIU) (8-7, 2-3 C-USA) Wednesday night at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center in Miami, Fla.

I applaud the poise of our guys; on the bench, on the court, their togetherness, their belief in each other,” said head coach Dusty May. “It was a great college basketball game, and fortunately we made enough plays at the end to win.”

In the first half, the Owls were shooting a red-hot 50% from three-point range and 44.44% from the field. The Owls also conceded eight turnovers in the first half that contributed to the close score going into the second half.

The Panthers led the Owls for a majority of the first half, until the Owls took back the lead in the last minute. Redshirt freshman guard Nicholas Boyd made two consecutive three-pointers in the final minute allowing the Owls to go into the second half with just a one point lead, 34-33.

FIU took back the lead less than a minute into the second half with a three pointer from freshman guard Arturo Dean and continued to extend that lead into the second half. 

The Panthers took the largest lead of the night at nine points with a contested jump shot from sophomore guard Denver Jones with 7:26 remaining in the second half.

FIU remained ahead for most of the second half until the Owls tied the game with less than 2 minutes to play. Sophomore guard Alijah Martin was fouled as he made a layup and sank the free-throw attempt, completing the three-point play and tying the score at 64 apiece.

The Owls had an opportunity to win in regulation thanks to jump-shot from sophomore guard Johnell Davis, until the Panthers drew a foul and made both free-throw attempts, sending the game to overtime tied at 66.

Despite falling behind in the opening minute of overtime, FAU rallied back, taking a two-point lead off a pair of free throws from Davis. After May called his final timeout with 28 seconds to play, senior guard Michael Forrest made his second three-pointer of the night, then sank two free-throws a possession later, sealing the 77-73 victory.

As a team, the Owls didn’t shoot particularly well, finishing the night shooting 39% from both the floor and three-point range. They were, however, redeemed by a dominant performance on the boards, out-rebounding the Panthers 44-35.

For the second time in their last three outings, Davis finished as the Owls’ leading scorer with 17 points, along with five rebounds and an assist.

The Owls will now prepare for another highly-anticipated conference matchup on Saturday, Jan. 14, against the University of North Texas Mean Green (14-3, 5-1 C-USA). Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Nicole Vogt is a contributing writer at the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories email her at [email protected], or tweet her @nicole_nikkiv.