Men’s Basketball: FAU soars past Rice 90-81

After falling out of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll on Monday, FAU bounced back with nine-point victory Thursday night.


Nicholas Windfelder

Junior Guard Brandon Weatherspoon celebrates a rebound shot from Vlad Goldin that got tipped in by RICE on Feb. 9, 2023 during Throwback Night.

Maddox Greenberg, Business Manager

FAU men’s basketball (23-2, 13-1 C-USA) took down Conference USA rival the Rice University Owls (15-9, 6-7 C-USA) Thursday night at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena. 

FAU entered the matchup 12-1 in conference play, with their only loss coming at the hand of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers a week ago. FAU and Rice also entered Thursday’s game tied 4-4 all-time against each other.

It was nice to find a way to win in front of a great crowd,” said head coach Dusty May. “Tonight, because of our inability to stop Rice, they’re a great offensive team, we had to rely on our offense to win, and fortunately the guys stepped up.”

In the first quarter, FAU started off strong on the defensive end, forcing Rice into two shot-clock violations in the first half. 

Sophomore guard Nicholas Boyd got things going on the other end with a three-pointer which put FAU ahead 9-5.

Sophomore guard Johnell Davis, who’s leading FAU with 13.2 points per game, completed a layup and then a corner three-pointer, extending the Owls’ lead to 16-8 midway through the first half.

Rice’s junior guard Travis Evee hit a layup pulling that lead down to one, but FAU fought back. Sophomore guard Alijah Martin answered back with his own layup, extending FAU’s lead to 25-16.

With under a minute left in the first half, Martin grabbed a steal and fed Davis for a layup, which left FAU ahead 38-32 going into halftime.

After drawing trips to the foul line on their first two possessions of the second half, junior guard Brandon Weatherspoon converted another three-pointer extending the lead to ten. Rice’s sophomore guard Cameron Sheffield answered back with a three of his own, moving the score to 44-37.

Evee hit a two-pointer to shrink FAU’s lead down to nine. Sophomore forward Giancarlo Rosado countered with a two-pointer after circling under the rim moving their lead to 52-43.

Rice’s solid shooting from behind the arc kept them in the game, as Evee sunk a three-pointer, shrinking FAU’s lead to 66-61 with 8:13 in regulation.

Two minutes later, sophomore center Vladislav Goldin continued his solid performance, scoring on back-to-back possessions; first, a slam dunk, followed by a three-point play after being fouled on a layup, which extended FAU’s lead back to eight

Rice, however, wasn’t going down without a fight. Evee, who finished the night with 25 points for Rice, hit his fifth three of the night in the final minute of regulation, bringing FAU’s lead down to seven.

After both teams traded trips to the foul line in the final minute, FAU ultimately ended with a 9-point victory, punching in their 14th consecutive home win.

“Rice did an unbelievable job every time there was a missed shot in transition,” said May. “They made us pay for every mistake and it shows how capable they are offensively, because literally we felt like we made eight to ten mistakes and they probably scored 20-25 points on them, or at least that’s the way it seemed like. So credit to our guys for staying poised and just playing the next possession.”

Goldin finished as FAU’s leader in both scoring and rebounds, ending the night with 19 points and eight boards. As a team, FAU shot 49.2% from the field and 32% from deep while dominating the glass with 32 defensive rebounds. 

FAU will remain at home and prepare for their next matchup on Saturday, Feb. 11 against the  Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs (13-11, 6-7 C-USA) Tipoff from Eleanor R. Baldwin is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Maddox Greenberg is the Business Manager for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM via Facebook @maddox greenberg.