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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 in the AAC semifinals to Temple 74-73

Johnell Davis’ late pass on a layup sends FAU home as Temple continues its unprecedented run to the AAC Championship Game on Sunday.
Christian Proscia
Johnell Davis during FAU’s 74-73 loss to Temple University in the AAC tournament semifinals

Fresh off of their 77-71 victory against No. 7 seed North Texas on Friday, the No. 2 Florida Atlantic Owls (25-7, 14-4 AAC) lost 74-73 to the No. 11 Temple University Owls (15-19, 5-13 AAC) in their second matchup this season in Fort Worth, Texas.

Temple advanced to their first American Athletic Conference (AAC) Men’s Basketball Conference Championship appearance in their program’s history. They are the first 11-seed to make it to the championship game.

Vlad Goldin led FAU with 23 points, Johnell Davis had 18 points. Davis and Alijah Martin both had seven rebounds.

“First of all, hats off to Temple,” FAU head coach Dusty May opened in the post game press conference. “They played with great physicality, they were very determined, and they made some big time plays. There’s a reason that they’ll be playing tomorrow because they came out here and played really, really well for four games and four days.” 

FAU started the game going on a 12-0 run after being tied 9-9 and kept the lead throughout the first half. FAU had three turnovers in the beginning of the game. Just like throughout the AAC Championship tournament, Temple came back to force a timeout by Dusty May. 

Temple started to chip away Florida Atlantic’s double digit lead to cut it within six with less than two minutes in the first half. Temple started putting the ball in danger, turning the ball over several times within that span. 

Davis scored his first point on an open layup after a steal from Brenen Lorient to extend FAU’s lead 31-22, forcing Temple to a timeout. FAU headed into the second half leading 33-25. Both teams had a combined 12 turnovers. FAU shot 52% from the field and 86% from the free throw line, while Temple shot 36% from the perimeter.

Vlad Goldin throwing a dunk down against Temple.

Goldin led both teams in scoring with 11 points, with Martin displaying his impact on the court leading with nine rebounds. Jalen Gaffney, who played in his 150th career game, contributed to seven points. FAU’s defense stood out in the first half, tallying up with three blocks and three steals, while Temple led with five steals. FAU had no second chance points in the first half, while Temple had two.

At the start of the second half, both teams were exchanging a three-point shoot around, with Temple going for 3 three-pointers in a row. After a flagrant foul by Goldin on Temple’s Matt Picarelli, Temple shortened Florida Atlantic’s lead to one, 42-41. This foul turned the game over from FAU control to Temple control. 

“They were playing physical and that’s what you expect during the tournaments when it’s everything on the line, that’s how you expect to play. I wasn’t shocked, I knew it was going to be a physical game, that’s how it was,” said Goldin on the physicality of the game and the foul on Picarelli.

Goldin stated that he “didn’t mean to” hit Picarelli in the face.

Temple went on a 21-13 run. Jordan Riley and Hysier Miller both played big roles for Temple. Miller had 13 steals for Temple. Goldin’s 21-points with a little under four minutes remaining in the second half set FAU’s deficit to two, 64-62. Davis ties the game with a layup at 64 apiece. 

AAC Co-Player of the Year Davis completed three much needed free throws on a shooting foul to get FAU within one with 27 seconds remaining. With Dezonie missing both free throws and an opportunity for Davis and FAU to score, Davis threw the ball back to Lorient who lost the ball and turned it over, sealing Temple’s victory.

“I trust these guys, man. Everyone in that locker room, we have a high level of trust and respect for, and we got to the rim down one and it’s a one-possession in an 80-possession game,” said May, defending the final play of the game.

May explained how the original play was for Davis to run the ball to the rim and if he got defended, they would’ve used one of their timeouts.

At the time of publication, FAU has been confirmed as the No. 8 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament, and will play No. 9 Northwestern University on Friday, Mar. 22.

Maddox Greenberg is a staff writer at the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email him at [email protected] or DM him through Instagram @maddoxblade04 or X @MaddoxGreenberg.

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About the Contributor
Maddox Greenberg
Maddox Greenberg, Sports Editor
Maddox started writing sports for the UP in Summer 2022 with the intention of improving his journalistic writing. He is a sophomore majoring in multimedia journalism and plans on becoming a sports broadcaster. He is a broadcaster for FAU Owl Radio.

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