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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 slay the UAB Blazers 86-73

FAU takes care of business against a familiar foe thanks to a Johnell Davis masterclass performance. Davis dropped 30 points on 62-83-100 percent shooting splits as FAU gets their second win in a row.
Jaden Wiston
Johnell Davis goes for the reverse layup over two defenders en route to the Owls 86-73 over the UAB Blazers, Jan. 14 2024

On Sunday, the No. 24 Florida Atlantic Owls (13-4, 2-1) returned home to face the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) (10-6, 2-1) on Sunday after splitting their two-game road trip and going 1-1. FAU came back home strong snapping the Blazers’ six-game win streak with an 86-73 win.

FAU trailed 4-0 early in the game before Johnell Davis responded with 10 straight to give FAU a four-point lead of their own. The Owls held the lead for the rest of the game.

Davis led the team with 30 points, 15 coming from behind the arc. Vlad Goldin contributed with 18 points and five rebounds. 

“I thought we had a couple of great individual performances, overall pleased with where we are in mid-January. [We’re] still not playing the type of basketball we need to play, but we’re still evolving as a team as a group. Our goals are to develop great habits that will translate in March,” said head coach Dusty May.

Despite a solid first-half performance, the Owls came out flat in the second half`and UAB took advantage of that, cutting a 21-point deficit to eight.

However, FAU keyed in on their defense and rebounding and ended the game with a 13-point win. The Owls were aggressive on the boards, out rebounding the Blazers 45-37.

“It’s no secret that UAB is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, so it was a major point of emphasis… Fortunately for us, Alijah [Martin] and [Davis] play much bigger than their sizes but I was really pleased with the way our guards rebounded the ball tonight,” said May.

Bryan Greenlee, Jalen Gaffney, Martin and Davis all finished the game with seven or more rebounds, more than 7 ‘1 center Goldin who finished with five.

“If Gaffney and Greenlee and those guys didn’t rebound the way they did, there was no way we could have had that type of advantage. When those guys get seven each, it helps us in transition, but it also allows Vlad and those guys to be more physical in the blockouts,” said May.

Davis on his way to the basket, with Giancarlo Rosado (pictured in the back) with a knee brace on his left leg. (Jaden Wiston)

With 12:18 in the first half, Giancarlo Rosado went to the locker room with an apparent knee injury and did not return. He was seen on the bench after halftime out of uniform with a left knee brace on. 

“He’s out for the foreseeable future. I don’t know if it’s a week or two, but we just finished a game. I haven’t talked to doctors. He hasn’t had an MRI. He hasn’t had anything. He wasn’t available in the second half. I can’t imagine he’s out the second half and plays this week,” May said.

FAU finishes their two-game home stretch on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. against Wichita State University (8-8, 0-3). The game will stream on ESPN2. 


The opening tip went to UAB, and they quickly scored the game’s first four points. Davis answered with FAU’s first 10 points.

Goldin subbed in after Rosado went down and ended the Owls’ scoreless stretch, throwing down a dunk to take a six-point lead.

With Rosado out, Tre Carroll and Isaiah Gaines gained more minutes in his absence.

“I thought they both impacted winning. They made very solid contributions. They competed,” said May.

Gaines, the junior forward out of Pensacola, Florida, has had many games this season without playing a single minute. With Rosado out for the near future, the team will look to lean on him in the games to come.

“[Gaines] fell out of the rotation, and he’s been awesome in practices [with] his attitude. He’s been a great teammate throughout, and that’s not always easy to do when you’re out of a rotation. He’s done that and he’s earned minutes,” May said.

Davis found Goldin in the post for an almost too-easy alley-oop to give FAU some cushion with 7:32 left.

The ref had words for UAB forward Yaxel Lendeborg for what looked to be taunting after a hard foul on Davis. The Owls took it personal and responded with a Tre Carroll three-ball and a Brandon Weatherspoon block under the basket.

Davis, named Player of the Game by the team, doing a post-game interview after a 30-point performance. (Jaden Wiston)

Davis hit his third three of the day, extending the Owls’ lead to 17 after a 10-0 run. UAB silenced the crowd with a slam dunk, but couldn’t dent FAU’s lead as Nick Boyd answered with five points on back-to-back possessions.

Despite the Blazers’ intensity, it was no match for the Beach Boys as they headed to the locker room up 43-24 after a Goldin dunk. This gave the Owls their largest lead of the first half, 19.

At halftime, the Owls were 52% from the field, converting 17 of their 33 shot attempts. UAB had a 31% field goal percentage, making 10 of their 32 shot attempts.

UAB came out of the half playing more offensively aggressively, fighting to chip away, but the Owls stayed in control. With just three minutes into the second half, Davis drilled his fourth three, putting Florida Atlantic up 22.

With 9:37 left, Blazers’ guard Daniel Ortiz cut the lead to 15 with a corner three, silencing the Owls fans.

The Owls in-bounded the ball under the basket with what looked like an elevator play allowing Bryan Greenlee all the time to sink his first three points. Just 44 seconds later, Davis delivered another three.

Slowly chipping away, cutting FAU’s lead to 12 after a three from UAB guard Alejandro Vasquez off an Owls turnover, Greenlee found Vlad to slam it down, electrifying the crowd.

Since Goldin’s dunk, the Owls were scoreless for 2:19 while the Blazers went on a 6-0 run to bring UAB within eight. Boyd ended the drought, going 2-2 at the line after UAB’s guard Vasquez fouled out.

Florida Atlantic pulled away with just under four minutes left of play going on a 10-0 run to bring their lead back to 18. Off a fast break, UAB guard Ortiz sinked a three with five seconds left, losing by 13.

Gianna Alberti is a staff writer at the University Press. Email her at [email protected] or @giannaalbertii on Instagram for information regarding this or other stories.

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