Owls win on free-pointer
FAU beats FIU for the fifth consecutive time as Greg Gantt hits the game-winning free throws with less than a second remaining.
Originally published on
MIAMI – There was another dramatic finish in the FAU-FIU rivalry on Saturday.
When it was over, it was another Owls victory as they defeated the Panthers 66-64 at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
This one, however, wasn't decided without some controversy – at least from FIU's vantage point.
After FIU's Phil Taylor hit two free throws with 0:11 left to tie the game at 64-64, the Owls drove down the court looking for a victory in regulation. With less than a second left, guard Greg Gantt put up a shot from three-point range. He missed the shot, but FIU's DeJuan Wright was called for the foul.
Gantt hit two of three free throws to clinch FAU's fifth consecutive victory over its Sun Belt rivals.
Wright was asked in a postgame press conference if he had fouled Gantt. His answer was an expected “no.”
Gantt, who scored a team-high 19 points, was more adamant when asked the same question.
“He fouled me,” he said. “...On my wrist.”
The Owls got off to another slow start, trailing 14-4 seven minutes into the game. Throughout the rest of the first half, FAU worked its way back to tie and eventually take a 33-31 lead into halftime.
FAU led for most of the second half before the dramatic final minutes.
“This is a rivalry game,” said guard Ray Taylor, who scored 14 points. “It's not as big as Duke-Carolina, but to us it is. Fortunately, we've been on the winning end of most of these games since I've been here.”
The Owls were led by junior forward Jordan McCoy, who recorded his first career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. In his last two games vs. the Panthers, McCoy has scored 37 points.
“FIU is a rivalry game. It's always fun and intense,” he said. “It's easy to get up and play a game like this. Last year I got extended minutes so I was able to step in and make the most of my opportunity and help my team.”
Saturday's game marked another thriller in what have become expected dramatic finishes in the FAU-FIU rivalry, which will be reignited on February 4, when the Owls host the Panthers at The Burrow.
“These games have been absolutely insane. They've been nuts,” said FAU coach Mike Jarvis. “Last year we led for eight seconds and we won. But we'll take it. We've got a big-time win streak going—we've got two wins in a row. We're on a frickin' roll.”
GameBrowser: FAU 66, FIU 64
FAU appeared to be on the way to salting the game away, but after the Owls went up 64-59 with :35 remaining, FIU hit a 3-pointer and then forced a turnover when Shavar Richardson was called for traveling. FIU took advantage of the miscue to tie the game on two free throws before Gantt's heroics, but the Owls obviously need to work on closing games out.
- Recent FAU-FIU games have been close ones that were decided in the final seconds, but thankfully for the Owls they have been in FAU's favor. This sets the stage for a rematch on February 4 at The Burrow.
- Jordan McCoy has been dominant vs. FIU in the last two games. McCoy, who scored a career-high 19 points last season, scored a season-high 18 points on Saturday.
- The final minute provided some controversy. Aside from the foul on Gantt, Shavar Richardson was called for a travel as the Owls in-bounded the ball with 20 seconds left, which led to FIU tying the game at 64-64.
31 – Points scored by Jordan McCoy in the last two games vs. FIU.
33 – Rebounds by FAU in comparison to FIU's 21.
46.9 – Shooting percentage from the field by FAU for the game.
39 – Points by FAU reserves. FIU's bench manages just one point.
The Owls will host Western Kentucky on Thursday at 7 p.m.