BOCA RATON – When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When your opponent plays physical, play physical back.
It’s that type of simple formula that will keep Florida Atlantic in games all year.
After going on a 36-0 run on Sunday in a 98-64 blowout win over Edward Waters, the Owls began their first winning streak of the year with a 78-62 takedown of the University of South Florida Bulls.
Despite the Bulls trying to bully the Owls into the ground in a game that produced 45 fouls, the Owls used their killing brand of basketball to stay upright and fight back.
South Florida was responsible for 27 of the 45 fouls, with four Bulls players having four or more fouls in the loss.
“We practice for teams like that, and obviously we got Middle Tennessee who plays like that,” center Ronald Delph said. “In practice, we don’t call as many fouls – we just try to do everything that we need to do.”
Delph had his second double-double of the year with 14 points – four of those by way of free throws – and 11 boards. Even after playing a game-high 32 minutes, Delph never seemed to falter, finishing with his first turnover-free game of the season.
In a night where the Owls outscored the Bulls 40-28 in the second half, Delph was one of seven players to score nine or more points.
“Ronald Delph is going to morph into a dominant player inside,” coach Michael Curry said. “Most of our guys on the perimeter are catch-and-shoot guys – except Jailyn Ingram, who’s really good at putting the ball down on the floor. Having guys that can play inside on the zone is really big. “
In front of a Burrow arena that totaled nearly 1,500 people, the Owls made a statement on Tuesday night: this isn’t the team that lost three games in Hawaii.
“It is important to get the win and it is important to show some progress in what we want and the things we’ve talked about; the type of team that we want to have,” Curry said. “Our guys are getting used to it, we’ve heard from some fans, they like to see it and they like the tempo.”
Ingram led all scorers with 16 points. Gerdarius Troutman also chimed in with 15 in the win.
GameBrowser: FAU (2-3, 0-0) 78, USF (2-2, 0-0) 62
Moving Forward: For the second straight game, the Owls took a lead into halftime…William Pfister avoided foul trouble and grabbed six rebounds in 17 minutes…FAU held USF to 20% shooting from behind the three-point arc.
Moving Backward: USF went on a 14-0 run for six minutes in the first half…While they did combine for 17 points, Adonis Filer and Frank Booker made only six of their fifteen shots.
Key Stat: 12 – Defensive kills for the Owls. FAU defines a kill as three consecutive scoreless opponent possessions in which the Owls don’t commit a foul. FAU’s goal is to get at least seven in a game.
Instant Message: “He shot the ball well on Sunday. His mom came down for the game and I asked him, ‘did she bring his game with him?’” – Curry on the improvements from Jailyn Ingram, who scored a career high 19 points on Tuesday.
Up Next: The Owls will have almost a full week off before their next game – a showdown with the University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks next Tuesday. Tip-off is slated for 8:30 p.m.