Jan. 3, 2005
MACON, GA - It took three overtimes and 104 points, but Florida Atlantic University outlasted Mercer University, 104-101, Monday night in Macon, GA. Mike Bell led FAU with 29 points, including seven in the final overtime, and 15 rebounds as five Owls finished in double-figures. Neither team led by more than eight points as the lead changed hands 15 times to go along with 18 ties. The win improves FAU to 2-8 overall but more importantly, 2-1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Mercer fell to 6-3 overall and 2-1 in the A-Sun.
With FAU trailing 101-100, Bell connected from beyond the arc to put the Owls in front 103-101 in what turned out to be the game-winning shot. Bell scored 14 of his points in overtime.
"I'm going to enjoy this game watching it on tape," said FAU head coach Sidney Green. "This was an exciting game. Our guys stepped it up. They played hard, they played smart, and they played together."
"Great players come through," said Green of Bell's performance. "That's what we've been telling Mike all year. He is a great player, and he came through at clutch time."
Bell's night also included playing the final 23:13 with four fouls as he picked up his fourth with 8:13 left in the second half.
FAU trailed 7-0 in the game's opening moments before taking as much as a 24-17 lead with 10:21 left in the first half. Mercer battled back and led 41-39 at the half.
In the second half, Young hit a trey at the 16:02 mark to give the Owls the lead back at 47-46. FAU would not trail again the rest of the second half and built a 57-49 lead with 11:29 left in the game. Mercer came back with a 14-6 run and tied it at 63 at the the 6:21 mark. FAU opened up a 72-67 lead with 2:10 left in the half after consecutive jumpers by Tywain McTyer.
However, two free throws by Wesley Duke and one of eight three-pointers by James Odoms tied the game at 72 heading into overtime. Odoms finished with a game-high 30.
Both teams scored 10 points in the first overtime, and it looked like FAU had sealed the game with 1.7 seconds left in the second overtime and a 91-89 lead. However, the Bears went the length of the court, and Damitrius Coleman's lay-up as time expired tied it at 91. Coleman finished with a triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. FAU outshot Mercer 48 percent to 41 percent. The Owls were an efficient 10-for-19 from beyond the arc but struggled at the line, going 10-for-22. FAU forced Mercer into 24 turnovers.
The 104 points were the most scored by the Owls since 107 against St. Mary's on November 20, 2001. The three overtimes are the most in team history.
"It was a fun and exciting game," added Green. "I just wish our fans and students could have been here to see it."
Florida Atlantic concludes its road trip Wednesday night at Georgia State. Tip-off is scheduled at 6:00pm with the game airing live on WLVJ 1040-AM.
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