Greg Gantt is intentionally fouled by Stetson in the first half of the Owls' 69-68 loss to the Hatters. (OwlAccess.com photo)
Chris Perez' put back as time expired gave Stetson a 69-68 victory over Florida Atlantic on Tuesday in the second meeting of the two schools this season.
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BOCA RATON – One second and a chance lay-up stood in between Florida Atlantic and victory.
After guard Greg Gantt sank a go-ahead 3-pointer with 7 seconds remaining to put the Owls up by one, Stetson guard Chris Perez sent the cheering crowd at The Burrow into shock and silence when he put up a layup off a missed jumper by teammate Aaron Graham at the buzzer handing the Owls a 69-68 loss on Tuesday.
“A game like tonight should have never come down to that,” said Owls coach Mike Jarvis. “We didn’t execute, offensively or defensively when we should have in the second half, and we gave them a chance to win. And guess what? The bounce or the lack of the bounce favored them. So they get a nice bus ride home and we have a long night in Boca.”
Even on a night where he struggled, Gantt continued to lead the Owls in scoring with 23 points. The Owls' leading scorer, Gantt may have felt extra pressure to perform.
Freshman guards Stefan Moody, the Owls’ explosive threat off the bench, and Cavon Baker were on the bench for FAU beginning a three-game suspension for violating team rules. Without the duo, both of whom play the point, Jarvis was forced to insert little-used walk-on freshman Richard Morrow into the game at pivotal minutes.
“We still should have won. Without them we should have won,” Jarvis said. “In fact, without them it would have been a much better win."
FAU had composure and dominated the first half, where they led 41-32 at halftime. A sloppy second half doomed the Owls.
FAU’s struggles began about midway through the second half. After building a comfortable lead FAU’s self-inflicted mistakes allowed the Hatters to battle back to within one. While the Owls fought through it and managed to regain a small lead those struggles wouldn’t disappear.
With Gantt not quite his dominating self the Owls saw contribution from other players.
Guard Pablo Bertone scored 12 points for the Owls and forward Andre Mattison tied a career-high with 10 points. Morrow scored six points in his first significant action of the season.
The last time FAU (5-6) played Stetson it was a much happier story for Owls, who won that game 88-78 two weeks ago.
GameBrowser: Stetson 69, FAU 68
Moving Forward: G Pablo Bertone scored 12 points, second only to Greg Gantt, for the Owls and nabbed four rebounds…F Andre Mattison tied a career-high with 10 points and added 7 rebounds…After struggling in his previous three games, Jackson Trapp committed only 1 turnover and scored 9 points.
Moving Backward: C Dragan Sekelja scored only 4 points, nabbed only 2 rebounds, and missed a key front end of a 1-and-1 in the closing mintues…F Kelvin Penn was held to 2 points and 3 rebounds.
Key Stat: 17 minutes of playing time for Richard Morrow, who had played less than 5 minutes of collegiate basketball before Tuesday.
Up Next: The Owls will travel to Indiana to take on the Hoosiers on Friday at 7 p.m.