BOCA RATON – Three days after Christmas, the Florida Atlantic Owls played like they’d all received coal in their stocking.
On the eve of conference play, FAU found itself on the losing end against Florida Gulf Coast Eagles,75-62.
Wednesday’s loss was more of a blowout than the 13 point final score shows. FAU, which entered its last non-conference game of the year with a 3-1 record at home, went into halftime down 38-24 and never recovered from the early deficit.
Having taken nearly three and a half minutes to score their first points, the Owls never led during the entire 40 minutes.
“We weren’t aggressive enough and we didn’t play nearly as aggressive defensively,” FAU coach Michael Curry said. “Their guards kept us on our heels on the perimeter because they controlled the game with their aggressiveness. That was disappointing.”
In their final non-conference game of the season, the FAU dominant play in the paint was nowhere to be seen as Jailyn Ingram and Ronald Delph combined for only 9 rebounds between them. Delph’s three rebounds were a season-low.
“Delph was a concern and Ingram is having a really good freshman year – he’s going to be a really good player – but I think we got some guys who did a nice job not giving up the easy basket,” Eagles coach Joe Dooley said. “Until the last couple minutes, we didn’t really give up many points.”
Eagles junior guard Christian Terrell led all players with 20 points. FCGU’s top scorer, Brandon Goodwin, was not far behind with 18 points.
FAU sophomore Jeantal Cylla led the Owls with 16 points, the final three of which came after a buzzer-beater to end the game. Justin Massey was the only other Owl to reach double-digits in scoring.
“I thought we were not aggressive and (FGCU) turned the ball over 17 times,” Curry said. “So, we could have been more aggressive and gotten those turnovers – more turnovers, live ball turnovers – and we would have had more chances.”
GameBrowser: FGCU 75, FAU 62
Moving Forward: The Owls finished 4-7 in non-conference play, much better than last year’s 2-11 record… Owls sophomore Justin Massey, who scored 15 points in 19 minutes against Webber International, scored 10 in 18 minutes tonight…FAU forced 17 turnovers from FGCU.
Moving Backward: FAU went into halftime losing yet again, this time by a 38-24 margin…the Owls made only four of their first 15 shots from behind the arc, but rebounded to make 4-of-6 in the second half…Nick Rutherford shot 2-7 from the field…the Owls committed 15 turnovers of their own.
Instant Message: “You get into conference play and you get into some teams that are not just sitting there and they’re going at different guys on the floor. You gotta be able to manage your position better.” – Curry on Gerdarius Troutman’s recent defensive struggles that led to him only playing five minutes against the Eagles.
Up Next: FAU will open Conference-USA play on Saturday afternoon with a home match-up against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.