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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 falls to USF 90-86 in the Battle of South Florida

After being down 25 with 12 minutes left, a late FAU comeback was not enough to secure the win. The Owls now fall to third in the AAC standings.
Christian Proscia
(Left to right) Weatherspoon, Martin, Davis, and Greenlee huddled together during FAU’s 90-86 defeat to USF

After facing a 15 point deficit at halftime and a 25 point deficit with 12 minutes left in the game, a late 15-0 run by the Owls made the game interesting in the final 7 minutes. 

The surge, however, was not enough for No. 24 Florida Atlantic University (FAU) (20-6, 10-3 AAC) as they lost 90-86 against the University of South Florida (USF) Bulls (19-5, 12-1 AAC). 

Martin rising up for a dunk to score the first points of the game (Christian Proscia)

After Alijah Martin started the game with an emphatic dunk, USF responded by making the next two shots of the game. This gave USF a three-point lead, and the Bulls held the lead for the rest of the game.

“We are proud of our guys’ effort in the second half. We battled, showed a competitive spirit, but credit to South Florida,” said FAU head coach Dusty May. “We’ve said from day one that we can lose with this group, and we’re not always going to play well but we showed great fight and great resolve.”

FAU was forced to stop multiple scoring runs to stay afloat in the game, but standout scoring performances from USF guards Selton Miguel and Chris Youngblood were too much for the Owls to withstand. 

The duo combined for 31 of USF’s 46 first half points, with Youngblood scoring the final three points of the game on free-throws to secure the win for the Bulls. 

“I feel good everyday I walk out [on the court] knowing I’ve got two hired guns [in Youngblood and Miguel],” said USF head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim. “I say humbly that it doesn’t surprise me [to see them perform well].”

FAU now sits at third in the AAC standings after losing to both Charlotte (17-8, 11-2 AAC) and USF this season, who sit at second and first in the standings respectively.

Vlad Goldin had a team-high 23 points on 8 of 11 shooting and went a perfect 7 of 7 from the free throw line. FAU had four players in the starting lineup score 16 points or better, while the rest of the team—Jalen Gaffney with nine, and Brandon Weatherspoon with one—combined for 10 points.

Not looking too far ahead, as there may be a sense of urgency to win the AAC tournament to get a bid for the NCAA Tournament, May and the team are focused towards their next opponent, Southern Methodist University (SMU), who sits right behind them as fourth in the conference standings. 

“There’s a sense of urgency to have a great practice on Tuesday and prepare for a very well coached, tough, veteran, SMU team,” said May.

Coach May after a timeout (Christian Proscia)

FAU will look to bounce back at home against the SMU Mustangs (18-7, 9-3 AAC) on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. The game will air on ESPN 2. 


The game began with confusion on the opening-tip, as Goldin tapped it to Johnell Davis, who was unsure if the refs had stopped the game and were going to redo the jump ball. 

After Martin got the breakaway dunk to score first for FAU, USF took the lead with a 5-0 scoring run and never looked back. An 8-0 run by the Bulls forced May to call an early timeout less than five minutes into the game, 13-4 Bulls.

The Owls responded with a 5-0 run, followed up with a 7-0 run by the Bulls, with Martin being the one to stop the bleeding. He made his first four shots of the game, but it was no match for USF that made five of their first nine threes to start the game.

With five minutes left in the first half, Miguel took the game over. He scored 14 points in less than three minutes, giving the Bulls a 17 point lead, their largest of the first half, with 2:12 left. 

After a flagrant foul was called against USF forward Corey Walker Jr., FAU was able to walk away with two made free-throws and a 15-point deficit going into halftime. 

At the half, FAU shot 39% from the field and made three three-pointers on 11 attempts, while USF shot 52% from the field and made eight three-pointers on 13 attempts. FAU had seven turnovers to USF’s three, and the Owls were losing the rebounding battle 14-18. 

Goldin got called for a flagrant foul of his own on the final possession of the first half when he and Youngblood fought for a rebound which resulted in Goldin hitting Youngblood in the face. 

This allowed USF to start the second half with two free throws and the ball, which let them get off to a 5-0 run 10 seconds into the half. USF led by 20 with 19:50 left in the game. 

FAU used the next four minutes to attempt to chip away at the lead, but USF had an immediate answer to every bucket. Split free throws by Weatherspoon had the score 61-41 with 16:04 on the clock. 

Both teams went scoreless for the next three minutes until a 5-0 run by USF gave them their largest lead of the game, 66-41 with 12:50 left in the game. 

With about nine minutes left in the game, the USF crowd began to chant “overrated” while FAU had possession of the ball. 

However, in a matter of two minutes, the lead went from 25 to 10 as contributions from Davis, Nick Boyd, Goldin and Gaffney stunned the crowd. FAU found a second wind.

The game plan switched for the Owls, as they full-court pressed the Bulls, which forced a few turnovers to turn into points. After the lead was cut to 10, FAU began intentionally fouling the Bulls, forcing them to make free throws while also stopping the clock. 

“It was situational. They wanted to shorten the game and we want to lengthen the game, so we were fine giving them some easy baskets,” said May. 

With 4:29 left in the game, Boyd hit a three to finally cut the game to single digits, 79-70. USF tried their best to add to the lead, but FAU became the one to have a response to every score. 

With time starting to run out, FAU went on a 7-0 run that was capped off by a Davis three with 24 seconds left in the game, shocking everyone in Yuengling Center as USF’s lead went from 25 to one in a matter of nine minutes.

On the following possession, Martin fouled Youngblood and he made both free-throws. Down three with 20 seconds left, Davis drove down the lane and forced a tough shot in the paint that missed, allowing USF to make a final free throw, go up four and take the game out of FAU’s reach with little time for a three-pointer plus an extra possession. 

“We were trying to get a quick two,” said May in post-game press.

JD Delcastillo is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email him at [email protected] or DM on Instagram @jd.delcastillo or X (Twitter) @jd_delcastillo.

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About the Contributor
JD Delcastillo
JD Delcastillo, Managing Editor
JD is a senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in sports studies and digital marketing. Since high school, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in the sports industry. He's published work in magazines, started his own sports newsletter, and currently interns with ESPN West Palm.

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