Jan. 4, 2003
ORLANDO, FL --Florida Atlantic University's return to Orlando was not as rewarding as its last as the Owls fell to Central Florida, 80-69, in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener for both teams. UCF's Ray Abellard led all scorers with 20 points while Earnest Crumbley led FAU with 18 points. b
UCF (9-4, 1-0 A-Sun) opened up the game leading 9-4, but FAU (4-9, 0-1 A-Sun) went on a 7-0 run to take its first lead at 11-9 with 13:01 left in the first half. With FAU leading 13-12, UCF went on a 9-2 run to take a 21-15 lead with 8:33 left in the half. The last six points came on threes by Abellard and William Bakanowksy. UCF increased its advantage to 32-24 with 3:34 left in the half before FAU closed the half on an 11-2 run to lead 35-34 at the break.
The run included consecutive threes by Crumbley along with a pair of free throws by Crumbley. Antoine Stevens closed the run with a lay-up with six seconds left in the half.
"Making that run at the end of the half was a great effort on our part," said FAU head coach Sidney Green. "Unfortunately, we just couldn't sustain that in the second half. I liked the way we came out in the second half, but we just couldn't adjust after UCF went on their run."
FAU scored the first bucket in the second half before falling behind 41-40 with 15:27 left in the game. That's when the Golden Knights went on an 11-4 run to take a 52-44 lead with 10:06 left. With the Owls still trailing by eight with 7:48 to play, UCF put the game away with a 6-0 run and lead 65-51 with 6:20 left. The Owls would only get as close as nine points the rest of the game.
Fouls and turnovers plagued the FAU as the Owls committed 27 fouls and put UCF on the line 36 times. UCF finished 28-for-36 from the line compared to FAU's 17-for-21. FAU also turned the ball over 24 times compared to 18 for UCF.
FAU shot 42 percent on 24-for-57 shooting from the field. UCF went 23-for-56 for 41 percent. The Owls were outrebounded 37-35 as Avery Headley pulled down a game-high 12 boards. Headley also scored a career-high 16 points.
Ed Dotson added 19 points for UCF with Dexter Lyons scoring 12. Bakanowksy finished with 10.
The game was the first for the Owls at UCF Arena since they won the A-Sun Tournament against Georgia State on March 2, 2002. That win propelled the Owls into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
Florida Atlantic next plays Troy State, January 9, in Troy, AL.
Addition Note: The FAU basketball coach's show will debut Monday night at 7:00pm on WLVJ 1040-AM. The first half hour will feature the women's head coach, Chancellor Dugan, while Green will be featured in the second half hour. The show will originate from Wackadoos Grill in the University Center at FAU.