The pot of gold Florida Atlantic hoped to snare in the final game of the Rainbow Classic turned to lead when Hawaii scored the final five points of the game, including the game-winner with 6 seconds remaining to hand FAU a 64-63 loss.
The Owls played their best game of the tournament, doing so against a Hawaii team that participated in the NCAA Tournament last season, but still fell to 0-3 on the season.
“We did a lot of really, really good things today,” FAU coach Michael Curry told ESPN West Palm’s postgame show. “It’s unfortunate you miss that because of the loss.”
After trailing much of the game, FAU center Ronald Delph followed his own miss of an up-and-under layup to give the Owls a 61-59 lead with 1:47 remaining. A Nick Rutherford running one-hander in the lane extended the lead to four with about one minute remaining.
Gibson Johnson provided the final five points for Hawaii, converting a three-point-play in the paint to draw the Warriors within a point, then backing down on FAU center Ronald Delph in the lane before muscling in what turned out to be the game winner with 6 seconds remaining.
After the Owls called a timeout at mid-court to set up the final play with 2.2 seconds on the clock, Frank Booker launched a challenged 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key as the horn sounded that didn’t find the range.
Delph led all players with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
GameBrowser: Hawaii (2-1) 64, FAU (0-3) 63
Moving Forward: If Delph plays the way he did against Hawaii he will give Conference USA teams fits. He looks smooth. Defensively, though, he’s still vulnerable to power in the paint. …Jeantal Cylla scored 12 points in what as his best game of the young season. …Frank Booker added 11 points for the Owls.
Moving Backward: Jailyn Ingram made his first career start, but the power forward didn’t score a point in 28 minutes. …William Pfister went to the bench to make room for Ingram but still committed four fouls in 15 minutes and only scored two points. Foul trouble has plagued him early. …Two nights after scoring 20 points off the bench, Gerdarius Troutman went scoreless in 13 minutes. …Rutherford missed a crucial front end of a one-and-one with 23 seconds remaining. Had he made both free throws, FAU would have led by three prior to what turned out to be Hawaii’s final possession.
Key Stat: 39.7 – Field goal percentage for FAU on the game. Though not great, it was the best shooting night of the season for the Owls. “I still think we can shoot the ball much much better than we are shooting it,” Curry said.
Up Next: FAU returns to Boca Raton for Sunday’s home opener against Edward Waters. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.