Men’s Basketball: Owls clinch C-USA regular season title with victory over UTEP

For the first time in program history, FAU captured the C-USA regular season championship with a 26-point victory over the Miners Saturday afternoon.


Nicholas Windfelder

FAU Owls celebrate their final home victory of the 2022-2023 season on Saturday. Their victory against the UTEP Miners granted them Conference USA regular season title champions.

Nicole Vogt, Staff Writer

FAU men’s basketball (26-3, 16-2 C-USA) defeated the University of Texas at El Paso Miners (13-16, 6-12 C-USA) 75-49 on Saturday afternoon, winning the Conference USA regular season championship for the first time in program history.

FAU last faced UTEP Jan. 21 on the Miner’s court and beat them 67-59. This time, however, they faced off on the Owls’ home court and FAU nearly doubled the scoring margin, winning by 18 points. 

“A lot went right,” said head coach Dusty May. “We stayed healthy, our guys were really connected. It’s so hard to win a game. It’s hard to win a possession at this level. It’s hard to win a half. It’s hard to win a game. It’s extremely difficult to win a championship, especially in a 20 game season.”

Although sophomore center Vladislav Goldin won the tipoff for the Owls, UTEP took the first lead of the game off a layup. The Owls answered back with a jump shot made by junior guard Bryan Greenlee. 

Shortly thereafter, the Owls began to extend their lead. Sophomore guard Alijah Martin threw down a dunk, and two minutes later, junior guard Brandon Weatherspoon sank a three-pointer putting the Owls ahead by 5. 

By the 7-minute mark in the first half, the Owls had extended their lead out to 20. The Miners answered back, drawing multiple trips to the free-throw line to bring the lead back down to 12 with 2:50 in the first half.

After a last second layup by sophomore guard Johnell Davis, the Owls entered halftime with a 32-21 lead over the Miners.

The Owls continued to roll as the second half began. Martin tallied 12 points in the opening five and a half minutes of the second half, including connecting from beyond the arc three times, which left the Owls ahead by 15.

With 11:17 left in regulation, Davis hit the first of his two three-pointers which put the Owls ahead by 20 points. Layups on back-to-back possessions by sophomore center Giancarlo Rosado extended that lead out to 24 with 5:53 left to play.

FAU remained firmly in control through the final minutes of regulation, and when the final buzzer sounded, the Owls ended the night with a 26-point victory and their first C-USA regular season title. 

“We wanted to win a Conference USA regular season championship and we knew that was going to be extremely difficult,” said May. “If the season ended today we would be [celebrating] but the season doesn’t end today and we still have work to do. Our goal of making the NCAA tournament is right in front of us. We aren’t scared of the pressure. We’re not scared of anything that comes with it.”

Martin ended the night as the Owls’ leading scorer with 21 points, followed by Davis who added 12. 

When the celebration concludes, the Owls will begin preparing to head on the road for a matchup with the Rice University Owls (17-12, 8-10 C-USA) on Thursday, March 2. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will be broadcast by ESPN+.

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