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


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


Men’s Basketball: FAU takes a 69-56 win over Rice after a slow start

The Owls extend their win streak to five with a win in the Battle of the Owls. Nick Boyd led with 18 points.
FAU Athletics
Nick Boyd handling the ball with Johnell Davis trailing him in FAU’s 69-56 win over Rice University

In their first game back in Houston after the Final Four, the Florida Atlantic Owls (16-4, 6-1 AAC) took the win over the Rice University Owls (7-12, 1-5 AAC), 69-56 on Wednesday night. 

Rice got an early 4-0 lead to start the game, but that would turn out to be their largest of the night. 

“With these conference opponents, league play means a lot. We talked to our team and Rice probably should’ve been 4-1 [in conference play], not 1-4 based on how they played,” said head coach Dusty May. “It takes a little bit to develop rhythm and a flow but we’re getting back into our defensive identity.” 

The matchup started slow, each team averaging less than 30% shooting in the first seven minutes. Nick Boyd sparked the energy after draining back-to-back threes to put FAU up by five. 

“It was just taking open shots and they went in. Like coach said, we’re starting to find our groove a little bit, but I think we’re light years away from where we’re going to be really soon,” said Boyd. “I’m just taking it day by day, slowly.”

Boyd led the team offensively with 18 points, gaining 11 in the first half, allowing FAU to go into halftime with a seven point advantage. 

After the break, FAU continued to dominate offensively. Alijah Martin showcased some of his signature dunks with two in back-to-back possessions. 

“The dunks, the flying up and down the court, trying to run teams out of the gym. That’s energizing for us because that’s part of our identity and that’s how we want to play,” said May. “Without a doubt, hustle plays, great effort plays, energize our group and that’s not going to change.”

FAU showed their defensive strength by limiting Rice’s scoring opportunities, keeping them to 27 points in the second half. Free throws by Boyd and Martin solidified the 69-56 win. 

FAU will be back at their home court on Sunday, Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. to host the University of North Texas Mean Green [11-6, 4-1 AAC]. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2. 


Rice started the game with a step-back two over Vlad Goldin. They went back down the court for another two to give them an early 4-0 lead. 

A corner three from Bryan Greenlee gave the FAU Owls their first score of the game. 

Both teams were playing with a high defensive effort, creating a slow offensive start. Goldin stopped a 3:12 minute scoring drought to put FAU up, 7-6. 

Rice quickly drove down the court for a three to put them back up, 9-7, but Boyd showed his strength on the free throw line and put down two to tie the game, 11:15 left in the half.

For five minutes the game went back and forth between FAU and Rice, each taking a lead by one or two. 

The game began to heat up after Nick Boyd secured back-to-back three’s, 18-13. Rice matched that with a three of their own, but Brandon Weatherspoon accelerated his pace of play, putting up seven points, 27-23. 

“It’s a game of runs but I thought Nick had a great poise on the ball screen, he had a destination, attacked and got us an easy basket,” said May. 

FAU led going into halftime, 33-26, after Davis got a layup to put the Owls up by seven. 

At the half, FAU was 46.4% from the field, 50% beyond the arc, and leading with 20 rebounds. Rice was 33.3% from the field and 36.4% beyond the arc. 

Rice came out strong after the break by quickly drowning a three, 35-29. But, Greenlee put a stop to their scoring with a layup, 37-31. FAU went on to a 9-0 run with 17:43 left in the second half. 

Martin quickly intercepted a pass and sprinted down the court for a wide open dunk, 46-33. He followed that up with a second to give the Owls a 15 point lead, 14:13. 

Rice sophomore forward Andrew Akuchie jumped up to block a shot attempt by Goldin and flew down to get a layup of his own, 46-53. Rice began a 8-0 run in total to get the game within five again. 

“Against a team like Rice it’s tough to take away layups and threes and for the most part I thought our guys did that, they’re a challenge with the random movement,” said May. “They read defense really well, they cut home and they got a great plan.”

After a 4:36 minute scoring drought for FAU, Brenen Lorient shut down Rice’s momentum with a layup of his own, 55-48.  

With 6:24 left in the game, it became a back and forth battle. FAU began to take back a larger lead, however, Rice continued to put down shots and the score was within nine with three minutes to go. 

It became a fouling matchup in the final minute, with Rice being forced to foul in order to try and cut away at their eight point deficit, 56-64. 

Martin was the first to be fouled and put down both of his free throws to make the score 64-56. 

Boyd made both of his free throws with 52.9 seconds left in the game, 66-56. Martin put down an additional three to set the final score

Megan Bruinsma is a staff writer for the University Press. Email her at [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @megan_bruinsma for more information regarding this or other stories.

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Megan Bruinsma
Megan Bruinsma, Sports Editor
Megan is a junior majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in sports studies. She has grown up with a passion for watching and playing sports. She’s excited to continue her journey of learning how to cover sports in a professional sense. Megan has hopes to become a sports reporter for an NFL or NBA team.

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