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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Men’s Basketball: Owls obliterate Eastern Michigan 100-57 in opening home game

FAU shot the lights out of the arena, going 13-25 for three and shooting over 62% from the field to defeat Eastern Michigan 100-57.
FAU+junior+center+Vlad+Goldin+%28%2350%29+dunks+the+basketball+in+the+opening+seconds+of+the+Owls+100-57+win+against+Eastern+Michigan+during+the+Owls+first+home+game+in+over+250+days+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+14%2C+2023.
Gasner Delvarin, Jr.
FAU junior center Vlad Goldin (#50) dunks the basketball in the opening seconds of the Owls’ 100-57 win against Eastern Michigan during the Owls’ first home game in over 250 days on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023.

The No. 10 Florida Atlantic Owls (2-0) men’s basketball team defeated the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Eagles (1-2) 100-57 on Tuesday night in the Owls’ first home game of the season.

Entering the game, Eastern Michigan was 0-25 against AP Top 10 teams. After the game, they are now 0-26.

The last home game for the Owls was against the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Miners when the Owls won the Conference USA regular season title.

“As long as we don’t change who we are from a character standpoint, then we’re going to have a great season. What that looks like, who knows? Injuries, health, breaks, all those things come into play, but the way our guys played this game, it’s impressive for a bunch of 18 to 22 year olds. I’m proud to be affiliated with this group,” said head coach Dusty May. 

The game began with FAU junior center Vlad Goldin winning the tipoff, earning the first possession. The team would then execute a drawn-up play where redshirt sophomore guard Nick Boyd threw a lob to Goldin to throw down a slam dunk, erupting an already explosive FAU crowd. 

After a three-point shot by EMU junior guard Tyson Acuff that would cut FAU’s lead to 8-5, the Owls responded with four straight 3-pointers of their own in four straight possessions, taking an early 20-5 lead within five minutes of the game. 

The day’s highlight was the shooting performance by FAU senior guards Brandon Weatherspoon and Bryan Greenlee, who both shot a combined 8-8 from three, and 10-10 from the field. 

“At the end of the day, it’s my teammates giving me open shots. It’s just like throwing a rock in the ocean. If you can’t make those, you’re not supposed to be here,” said Weatherspoon. 

The Owls would score 54 points in the paint, 24 more than their Eastern Michigan opponents.

FAU would maintain a double-digit lead for the rest of the night, playing smart and clean basketball with the occasional highlight play. One of these highlights came from junior guard Alijah Martin, who would cut from the corner to the basket, receive a bounce pass from junior forward Giancarlo Rosado, and throw down a vicious dunk, bringing the FAU crowd to its feet. 

The largest lead of the first half came at the 2:08 minute mark after FAU sophomore forward Brenen Lorient split his free throws, making the score 47-22. 

Last year, Lorient wasn’t cracking the rotation, only playing situational minutes or at the end of blowout wins. On Tuesday night, the sophomore guard had a career high. He played 15 minutes, putting up 13 points, three rebounds and a steal. He also provided great defense throughout the game. 

“[His minutes] were huge. He gives us something we don’t have,” said May. “Last year we had a nine man rotation, and probably seven of the guys were really similar… [Lorient] gives us something completely separate and different than all of those guards. Obviously he’s still evolving into more of a perimeter guy, but he’s talented, he’s tough and he found some ways to really impact the game today.”

After some back and forth scoring between both teams for the final two minutes of the half, senior guard Jalen Gaffney would hit a difficult, off-balance three-point shot at the buzzer to give FAU a 23-point lead into halftime, 51-28. 

The crowd was engaged and loud throughout the whole game. The Owls fed off the energy from the crowd, and it reflected in their performance.

“[The fans] make us play ten times harder. When I hear them scream and holler and clap, I just want to get a stop and go on the other end and make [the other team] call a timeout because I know that gets them even louder,” said Weatherspoon. 

The buzz from the unprecedented March Madness run that FAU went on still lingers, creating a spectacle that FAU basketball has never seen before. Students camping outside the arena the night before the game to secure their seats, as well as tonight’s game, breaking another attendance school record of 3,161.

Although FAU basketball was breaking attendance records last year, it is still a surprise to Rosado, a Palm Beach county native, to see such a scene at the games. 

“Coming out of high school, FAU was a football school. Everybody used to tell me ‘why are you going to a football school?’ [This is] something we built. My freshman year, we had maybe 400, maybe 500… to see it [now] sold out every game. It’s a blessing.” 

Coming into the second half, the Owls kept their foot on the gas. Eastern Michigan could not dig themselves out of the 20-plus-point hole, turning the ball over and being forced into bad shots by a relentless FAU defense. 

FAU would take a 40-point lead with 6:38 left in the game, making the score 86-46. Lorient gave FAU their largest lead of 44-points on the night after a fastbreak steal followed by a windmill dunk; an exclamation point on an exciting home-opener win. 

FAU finished the game shooting 62.5%from the field and 52%from three, defeating Eastern Michigan 100-57. 

FAU looks to extend its 19-win home streak to 20 against the Bryant University (1-2) Bulldogs on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. The game will stream on ESPN+.

JD Delcastillo is a Staff Writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories email him at [email protected] or reach out on Instagram @jd.delcastillo

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About the Contributor
JD Delcastillo, Sports Editor
JD is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in sports studies and digital marketing. Since high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in the sports industry. He's published work in magazines, started his own sports newsletter, and currently interns with ESPN West Palm.

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