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


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


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


Men’s Basketball: Owls comeback to beat Charleston 90-74

Junior guard Johnell Davis’ second double-double this season aided in the Owls’ second half comeback victory against the Cougars Saturday night.
Jaden Wiston
FAU junior guard Johnell Davis drives into the paint during the Owls’ 90-74 win over Charleston on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

On Saturday, the Florida Atlantic Owls (7-1) men’s basketball team followed from their Thursday night 83-58 victory over Liberty University to defeat the College of Charleston (4-4) Cougars 90-74 in Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena during the final day of the Field of 68 Classic.

“Shout out to the fans, the energy, the juice,” praised head coach Dusty May. “Even when we weren’t playing well, they brought it and they energized. They had a direct impact on this game and when you feel the crowd behind you like we did, it’s obvious the impact it has.”

Out of the gate, the Owls put up a 6-2 lead early in the first half with a couple of quick layups by junior guards Alijah Martin and Johnell Davis, alongside junior center Vladislav Goldin. 

After that, the offense slowed down for FAU, and eventually, the defense fell through as Charleston scored five unanswered points. 

A foul by Davis and the junior forward Giancarlo Rosado’s layup set the Owls’ offense in motion. Both teams traded baskets before FAU went on a 7-0 run to lead 19-12. Charleston would cut into that lead after Martin’s turnover, which led to redshirt freshman guard Jordan Crawford’s go-ahead three to make it 19-15. 

“We were a little bit disappointed in the first foul,” said May on Goldin being in foul trouble early in the first half. “It’s a case where Vlad was trying to do the right thing. It was an error of aggression so we will always take that.”

After both teams had difficulty making shots with the game sitting at 24-22, Charleston went on a 7-0 run forcing FAU to call a timeout down 29-24. 

Coming out of the timeout, FAU started gaining momentum and putting some points on the board, scoring five points in the final two minutes of the first half to trim the Charleston lead to 46-40.

“If I was a school teacher, I would give an A+ on the offensive side of the ball,” May said. “Rosado was phenomenal in the first half. He was the reason we were in the game. [Charleston has] an all-elite center and Rosado was able to neutralize him and it helped us down the stretch. He is a winner. He’s a great teammate. As a coach, I feel guilty that he doesn’t get more but he’s so unselfish. He knows he deserves more and we all know he deserves more shots, minutes, accolades but he’s such a winner that we’re not where we are right now if he doesn’t do what he does every single day.”

Coming out of halftime, the Owls’ shots started falling: Goldin quickly got a bucket followed by three missed shots by Charleston. The second half started slow, with Charleston leading 51-43 at 16:48. 

A three-pointer from Martin lit a fire under the Owls’ offense, going on a 7-0 run to bring the score to 51-50. Junior forward Ben Burnham would end FAU’s run to try and get Charleston’s offense going with two free throws.

It wasn’t enough as FAU’s Davis and Goldin took over after two back-to-back layups as the Owls took the lead 56-55 with 13:24 remaining in the second half. 

After a trade of baskets, Davis would make consecutive layups before a monstrous alley-oop  jam from Martin to put the Owls up 69-60.

“My teammates kept finding me in transition, and I kept going to the basket and finishing,” said Davis.

FAU’s comeback in the second half came from the team shooting 63% from the field and 37% from behind the three-point line. This resulted in the Owls taking the 90-74 win, with Davis leading the charge with a double-double, scoring 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The Owls will travel to New York City to face the University of Illinois Fighting Illini (6-1) in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Chris Smith is a Staff Writer for the University Press. Email [email protected], DM via Twitter @chris_smith_35 or Instagram @Chris_smith_4 for information regarding this story or others.

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