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’ rollercoaster battle ends in a heartbreaking 70-68 road loss to UNC Charlotte

Despite overcoming a double digit deficit at halftime and having a tied game, the Owls lost the game on the final possession due to a foul that led to game-winning free throws for Charlotte
Jaden Winston
The FAU Men’s basketball team in a quick huddle before an inbound pass in their match against ECU on Tuesday, Jan. 2 2024

After a bounce-back win at home against ECU, the Florida Atlantic Owls (11-4, 1-1 AAC) hoped to continue winning against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers (7-7, 1-1 AAC). However, desperate for a win after losing their last two games, the 49ers capitalized on a slow start from the Owls, emerging victorious in a 70-68 hard-fought battle.

Despite the challenge of being down 41-26 at the half, the Owls displayed resilience and staged a thrilling comeback in the second half. The Owls fought back to make it a tie game in the final possession, only to lose by two free throws after fouling Charlotte guard Lu’Cye Patterson on the final possession of the game.   

“It’s becoming a theme where we’re just not on our toes, we’re not the aggressor early in the game, and then we have to fight back. Credit to our guys though, they got us back in position to win the game ” said head coach Dusty May. “Last year we were able to win all the one-possession games, and the numbers say that you’re going to win half of them. We have to figure out a way to get our edge back.”

From the opening tip-off, the Owls struggled, enduring an agonizing 0-9 scoring drought for the game’s first six minutes. Nick Boyd scored the first points of the game for the Owls with 14:12 in the first half. 

Known for their second-half prowess, FAU started to orchestrate a comeback, earning trip after trip to the free-throw line and reaching the bonus eight minutes into the second half. 

Nick Boyd was the driving force for the Owls, providing a much needed spark of offense for the team. He spearheaded the comeback that would give FAU their first lead with 3:53 in the second half. 

However, the 49ers retaliated after each lead change or tie and ultimately secured the victory.

“We’ve got to go on the road with a chip on our shoulder, and it’s no secret when you look at the games we’ve lost we haven’t shot well from the perimeter,” said May. FAU has yet to win a true road game this season (0-2).

The Owls shot 5-19 from three for the game after starting 2-10 in the first half. Johnell Davis finished the game with 20 points, and Boyd scored 19  off the bench. The 49ers had six different players score eight or more points for them in their win.

FAU will try to bounce back when the Owls travel to New Orleans to take on Tulane University (10-4, 1-1 AAC)  on Thursday, Jan 11 at 7:00 PM. The game will stream on ESPN 2


The opening tip-off went to FAU, but a missed layup by Vlad Goldin set the stage for the first half FAU was going to have. Both teams exchanged turnovers, with  Davis’s turnover leading to a Charlotte steal and layup for Charlotte guard Isaiah Folkes at the 18:43 mark.

In a back-and-forth struggle, both squads endured a minute of missed opportunities. A layup by Charlotte center Dishon Jackson extended the 49ers’ lead to 4-0. The Owls failed to respond, and despite Charlotte entering a three minute scoring drought, FAU would fail to score a bucket. 

Another layup and three-pointer for Charlotte gave the 49ers a 9-0 lead with 14:23 in the first half. Boyd gave his team a much needed answer with a layup, leaving the score at 9-2 with over six minutes played. The 49ers then hit a three-pointer on their next possession, commanding a 10-point lead.

The Owls’ offensive struggles continued, managing only two points from the line in the next two minutes. Charlotte added two more points, maintaining their 10-point lead with seven minutes played. FAU’s empty offensive possessions led to the 49ers collecting two more baskets and stretching their lead to 15 with the score at 19-4 before 10 minutes were played in the first half.

Although the 49ers headed into the second half with a 41-26 lead, they knew holding onto it  wouldn’t be easy, “We talked to the guys at halftime that [FAU] would come out and throw some major haymakers and punches at us, and they did that,” said Charlotte head coach Aaron Fearne.

FAU fought back despite Charlotte widening their lead to start the second half at 45-28. Foul line trips piled up, with Jalen Gaffney and Davis making crucial free throws, shrinking the lead to 12.

Alijah Martin’s three-pointer brought the lead to single digits for the first time since the first half, with the score at 36-45. However, two baskets by Charlotte undid FAU’s efforts, putting the lead at 49-36 seven minutes into the second half.

Undeterred, FAU narrowed the gap. Back-to-back scores brought the lead down to 5 points, and the Charlotte 49ers felt the pressure, as Coach Fearne had predicted.

Both teams traded stops, but an 8-0 run by the Owls, finished with an-and-one layup from Boyd, tied the game at 53 with 6:29 left to play. The gritty game saw free throws and jumpers exchanged for the next 2 minutes, with FAU taking the lead from a second-chance layup by Alijah Martin at 59-57 with 3:53 to go.

Charlotte regained the lead at the 2:37 mark and never let go. FAU tied the game twice in the last two minutes, notably with Jonhell Davis’s three-pointer at the 13-second mark, putting the Owls on the cusp of their second overtime game of the season.

In the final moments, Bryan Greenlee got a piece of Lu’Cye Patterson’s shooting hand, sending him to the stripe, where he converted both free throws, securing an upset win for UNC Charlotte over the Owls.

Zion Cooper is a Contributing Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email him at Zwadde15l&gmail.com or DM on Instagram @Zion__15 X (Twitter) @Cooper_Zion

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Do you have something to say? Submit your comments below
All UNIVERSITY PRESS Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *