Men’s Basketball: Owls’ winning streak collapses in 86-77 loss to UAB

Thursday’s loss marked the Owls’ first since last November and their first in conference play all season.


Nicholas Windfelder

Sophomore guard Alijah Martin driving towards the basket against Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 7, 2022.

Nicole Vogt, Contributing Writer

The #19 FAU Owls’ (21-2, 11-1 C-USA) historic winning streak came to an end Thursday night, as they fell on the road to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers (15-7, 6-5 C-USA) 77-86. 

The loss ended the Owls’ 20-game winning streak, which was the longest in the nation entering the matchup. 

Hats off to UAB, they played determined basketball,” said head coach Dusty May. “They made some physical plays around the rim, and we couldn’t get the shots to drop when we did get in close

Though the Blazers took the first lead of the game, FAU rallied back, taking a 15-9 lead as sophomore guard Alijah Martin sank a jump shot with 13:58 in the first half.

UAB retook the lead around midway through the first half. However, sophomore guard Nicholas Boyd was able to keep the deficit reasonable at one-point with a make from behind the arc.

The Owls began to unravel on defense heading towards halftime. UAB went on a14-2 scoring run in the final 5:17 of the first half, which left them ahead 43-13 at halftime. 

The score was tight for the first half, but with less than 10 minutes left UAB took the lead and kept it going into the second. The Owls went into the second half down 13 with a score of 30-43. 

Nine different Blazers scored in the first half, as they shot 40% from the field and 30.7% from deep. Boyd and sophomore center Vladislav Goldin led FAU in scoring with 10 points each. The Owls’ struggled shooting from almost everywhere in the first half, 32.4% from the field and 14.3% from three-point range. 

The second half started strong with a dunk from Goldin assisted by junior guard Jalen Gafney. The Blazers, however, remained strong on both ends of the floor to keep a 10-point lead with 14:27 in the second half. 

FAU was able to put together some solid possessions, and sophomore guard Johnell Davis brought the deficit down to four as he drove past defenders for a layup. The Owls’ surge was short-lived though as the Blazers pushed that lead back out to sixteen points with 9:10 to play.

FAU threw out many attempts to chip away at the lead—even back-to-back threes with two minutes—but UAB had an answer for everything. 

The Blazers drew two trips to the foul line in the final two minutes and made three-of-four attempts, which all but sealed the loss for FAU. 

You put a team on the line 31 times and get out-rebounded 45-37, this is probably going to be the end result,” said May.

FAU outscored UAB in the second half 47-43, but couldn’t topple the lead from the first half which resulted in their first loss since falling to the University of Mississippi on Nov. 11, 2022. Though FAU will remain in control of first place in the C-USA standings, the loss is their first in conference play all season.

UAB shot more efficiently from the floor and from behind the arc than FAU, as the Owls finished the night shooting a rough 37.3% and 22.2% respectively. Boyd ended as the Owls’ leading scorer with 18 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. 

The Owls will now attempt to regroup on the road against the  University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers (13-9, 4-7 C-USA)  on Saturday, Feb. 4. Tipoff is scheduled for at 4 p.m. from Dale F. Halton Arena and will be broadcast by 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.