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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: Owls defeat Tulane 85-84 in a last second thriller

The Owls defeat Tulane University for the first time in program history. This is their first true road game win of the season.
FAU Athletics
Nick Boyd celebrating after making a three en route to FAU’s 85-84 victory over Tulane University, Jan. 11.

After a last-second heartbreaking loss to the Charlotte 49ers, the Florida Atlantic Owls (12-4, 2-1 AAC) win their first road game of the season 85-84 in a last-second thriller against the Tulane Green Wave (10-5, 1-2 ACC).

Tulane led the game 84-83 in the last 27 seconds until Alijah Martin was fouled during a three point attempt on the final possession of the game. Fortunately for FAU, Martin hit two of the three free throws to beat Tulane for the first time in program history.

FAU saw a similar ending play out in their last game against Charlotte, however, this time they were the team going to the free throw line. 

“We fouled [a player shooting an] 18-footer with 1.7 seconds [against Charlotte], so I’ll just say that we didn’t like that call and I’m sure Tulane didn’t like this call, but it is what it is,” head coach Dusty May said. “I’m sure we’re going to have more battles with Tulane going forward because that’s a really good basketball team.”

Nicholas Boyd led the team with 21 points and had a career high six threes in this game. Vlad Goldin was right behind Boyd with a 19 point, 11 rebound double-double, and Johnell Davis also contributed 14 points with a career high eight assists.

“I feel like the last couple of weeks we kind of took our foot off the gas in terms of holding each other accountable and just really understanding that we have a target on our back no matter where we go or who we play,” Boyd said. “So to beat a good Tulane team on the road in a hostile environment at the end, definitely a step in the right direction.” 

FAU will look to continue their AAC play back in paradise versus the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) (10-5, 2-2 AAC) on Sunday at 12:00 PM. The game will stream on ESPN+. 


Right after winning the tip-off, FAU scored the game’s first points with a layup from Goldin. Tulane answered right back with a layup of their own from junior forward Collin Holloway to tie the game 2-2. 

Bryan Greenlee hit a driving layup to take back the lead followed by a wide open three from Martin after an offensive rebound and assist from Davis.

FAU and Tulane went back and forth until Davis hit a mid-range jumper to start a 10-0 run. Boyd and Davis scored all of the points during this run including Boyd’s two field goals from beyond three to take a 19-8 lead five minutes into the game.

“I feel like it’s important just to take what the game gives you,” Boyd said. “In the first half I had a couple of open looks that my teammates created for me and I made them so I was feeling good. I just really tried to stay within the game and create for my teammates as well, but I was open and I was able to make big time shots.” 

Tulane ended the run with a layup from sophomore guard Kolby King at the 14:46 mark, but couldn’t put a dent into FAU’s lead for five minutes after the fact. 

With 9:17 left in the first half, Davis grabbed his second offensive rebound and made a corner three to make the score 29-19. 

“We knew going into it that we had to offensive rebound, or shoot exceptionally [well] to have a chance to win this game,” May said. “So once again, these guys knew what they needed to do from an effort and physicality standpoint…and competitors usually figure out a way to be successful and to win and that’s what this group is.”

Not only did FAU win the rebound battle 42-33, they also generated more second chance opportunities throughout the game with 18 offensive rebounds compared to Tulane’s eight. 

FAU slipped into a cold stretch soon after by turning the ball over four times in under three minutes. Senior guard Jaylen Forbes led Tulane’s 7-0 run with five points to help cut their deficit to three. All of a sudden, the score was 29-26 with 6:26 remaining.

The game turned into a back-and-forth affair with Tulane eventually taking the lead after hitting their third three point field goal in two minutes. 

25 seconds before halftime however, Greenlee went to the line to shoot a free throw and missed. Tulane didn’t know FAU was on a one-and-one bonus and Brandon Weatherspoon took the free basket to take the 39-38 lead into halftime. 

At halftime FAU had a 42% field goal percentage making 15 of their 36 shot attempts. Tulane had a 50% field goal percentage making 14 of their 28 shot attempts. 

Although Tulane had a more efficient half, FAU’s ability to obtain second chance opportunities, 10 offensive rebounds to Tulane’s two, helped them to make more shots at the end of the period. 

FAU and Tulane came out of the half trading baskets before Boyd made a contact-filled layup and a wide open wing three to make the score 46-40 after two minutes in the second half. 

FAU started to pull away and extended their lead to double digits after Martin hit a corner three at the 16:26 mark, 54-44.

The game was in a stalemate for a couple of minutes until Forbes led the comeback for Tulane. He sank in four shots from beyond the arc and made a contested driving layup over Goldin to make the game a one possession affair with a little over eight minutes to go. 

Forbes was a problem for FAU. Tulane’s comebacks in the first and second half are attributed to Forbes hitting multiple three pointers in a short span.

FAU and Tulane combined for eight straight missed field goals before Greenlee hit a pull-up jumper off a Goldin screen to make the game 73-70 with 6:19 remaining in the game. 

After two free throws from senior forward Kevin Cross to put Tulane within one point, Boyd made a tough three-point shot over two defenders for a four point play. 

FAU started to seemingly put the game away after back-to-back made threes gave them an 83-74 lead with three minutes remaining. 

However, after a free throw from Holloway, Forbes would once again hit a three to start another Tulane comeback. Holloway backed down Greenlee for an easy layup and after a missed three from Martin five seconds into the shot clock, King grabbed the rebound and made the transition layup to cut the lead down to one with a minute left.

Tulane was only down by one in the final 30 seconds. Holloway received the pass from Cross near the free throw line and bumped into Goldin to create separation. Holloway went up with the floater and the ball bounced in, Tulane took their first lead in the second half with 27 seconds left in the game.In the final possession for FAU, chaos ensued. Boyd missed a baseline floater but Davis obtained the offensive rebound. After a failed put back attempt, the ball was punched away from the paint by Tulane’s junior guard Sion James. 

Martin grabbed the rebound and shot from beyond the arc and missed. However, Cross hit Martin on the hand during the shot attempt and he was awarded three free throws.  

“Let the kids decide it,” Tulane head coach Ron Hunter said. “As I was walking over here, I’m glad I saw my family sitting there in the stands because I don’t want to be fined and take some money away from them,” the AP reported. 

Martin made and missed a free throw which tied the game at 84 with one free throw remaining. Despite Tulane’s student section trying to distract Martin, he hit the final free throw to finish the game with an 85-84 FAU victory. 

Morgan Larkins is a contributing writer for the University Press. Email him at [email protected] or DM him on Instagram or Twitter @mj_larkins for more information regarding this or other stories.

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