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

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

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Men’s Basketball: Second half comeback lifts FAU over Wichita St.

Alijah Martin led with 22 points as FAU rebounded from an 11-point halftime deficit to take down conference foe Wichita State.
Alijah+Martin+hyping+up+the+FAU+Student+Section+during+the+teams+86-77+comeback+win+against+Wichita+St.+
Jaden Wiston
Alijah Martin hyping up the FAU Student Section during the team’s 86-77 comeback win against Wichita St.

In front of a raucous home crowd of 3,161, the FAU Owls (14-4, 4-1 AAC) clawed their way to 86-77 conference victory over the Wichita State University Shockers (8-9, 0-4) Thursday night. 

The Owls, now winners of three straight, recovered from an 11-point halftime deficit with an offensive outburst in the second half led by leading scorer Alijah Martin, who had 16 points in the last 20 minutes of the game.

“I thought our guys found a great rhythm playing off of each other in the second half,” said head coach Dusty May. “They screened, they ran, they did a lot of the dirty work for each other so those shots could be in rhythm.”

Martin went into the intermission with six points as the Owls struggled shooting early on, shooting 36.3% from the floor and just 1-for-12 from three-point range in the first half. With his four makes from deep in the second half, Martin led the Owls’ surge to finish the night with a game-high 22 points, nine rebounds and an assist. 

“We knew going into the second half that we weren’t going to shoot terribly again,” said Martin. “We just put the trust in our work and dug it out.”

In the absence of Giancarlo Rosado—who’ll miss at least a month with a sprained knee— Tre Carrol saw 15 minutes and impressed in his newly increased role. 

“First half we were in a little bit of a rut, and he came in and gave us a jolt, gave us some life,” said May of Carroll. “There’s a lot of ways to impact a game, and Tre impacted us scoring, he impacted our spacing.”

After checking in five minutes into the game, Carroll didn’t waste time making his impact felt, sinking a three-pointer and completing a three-point play two minutes later to give FAU a much needed burst on offense. He finished the night with 10 points and four rebounds in 15 minutes.

“Tre stepped up tonight, he’s been stepping up the past couple games,” said Martin. “He’s playing well for us, and when you look down the roster, we got other guys that’re ready. Brandon Weatherspoon is ready, Isaiah Gaines is ready. Our staff here does a great job of making everybody ready when their name’s called.”

The Owls will now prepare for a two-game road stint in Texas, starting with a visit to the University of Texas-San Antonio (7-11, 1-4) on Sunday, Jan. 21. ESPN+ will broadcast the game.

Recap

It didn’t take long after the tipoff for FAU to fall behind as Wichita jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening two minutes of play.

After turning the ball over five times in the first six minutes of play, FAU originally fell behind 17-4 only six minutes into regulation. But thanks to the offensive jolt provided by Carroll, the Owls fought back, taking a 31-28 lead on a three-point play by Martin with 5:53 in the first half. 

That Owl lead was short-lived as shots continued to go awry for FAU late in the first half.  After Martin’s three-point play, the Owls wouldn’t make a shot attempt for the remainder of the half, allowing the Shockers to go on a 16-3 scoring run and retake a 42-31 lead going into the second half of play.

The shots going astray in the first half finally started to fall for the Owls in the second half.

Johnell Davis surveying the court against Wichita St. (Jaden Wiston)

Johnell Davis, who held to five points in the first half, scored on three consecutive possessions to open the second half before Martin sank the first of his four second-half threes with 15:01 to play, cutting the Shockers’ lead to four. Minutes later, junior guard Nick Boyd drained another attempt from deep to give FAU its first lead of the second half—one they wouldn’t give back.

After Wichita tied the score at 66 with 6:19 to play, Martin hit threes on back-to-back possessions, setting off a 20-11 run by FAU in the final six minutes of regulation. With 43 seconds left, Martin threw down an alley-oop from Goldin, putting an exclamation point on the victory. 

“We’ve got to get to the point where we’re not matching the other team’s energy and aggressiveness, but we’re surpassing it,” said May. “We have a lot of room for growth, and these guys are bought in to improving and doing it together. So, we have a lot of confidence [and know] that we’re not playing anywhere near our best basketball.”

Cameron Priester is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron

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About the Contributor
Cameron Priester, Editor-at-Large
Cameron Priester is an Editor-at-Large for the University Press. Having served as Sports Editor for the 2022-23 academic year, he is a multimedia journalism major and intends on pursuing a career in sports journalism. He can be found on Twitter @PriesterCameron and you can email him at [email protected].

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