Graham finished with 11 points off the bench for FAU.
Jan. 10, 2007
BOCA RATON, FL (January 10, 2007) -- Poor shooting crippled the Florida Atlantic University men's basketball team, and a last minute gasp couldn't save them as Middle Tennessee held on for a 72-68 victory at FAU Arena on Wednesday.
FAU shot 39.6 percent, but three consecutive makes inside 45 seconds remaining helped boost that number up. The Owls were near 35 percent for the majority of the contest. Equally painful was Florida Atlantic's night at the free throw line. The Owls shot 57.6 percent from the charity stripe, including a 10-for-22 effort in the second half.
Middle Tennessee, on the other hand, made 61.9 percent of its shots and hit 17-of-23 free throws.
"We weren't very efficient offensively," Head Coach Rex Walters. "You aren't going to win too many ball games where the opposing team shoots 60 percent on your home court."
Carlos Monroe finished with a team-high 17 points to go with seven rebounds. DeAndre Rice added 15 points and four boards, but the majority of his points came in the final three minutes. Jeff Parmer (12 points and eight rebounds) and Paul Graham (11 points) made strong contributions from the bench.
The Blue Raiders got out to a 9-2 lead at the 16:44 mark, using a diverse attack that saw each of the team's five starters score a bucket by the 15 minute mark. The Owls would chip away, eventually tying the game at 14 on a three-pointer by Sean Alarcon. With the game tied at 17, Monroe hit a layup and was fouled. He would complete the three-point play for a 20-17 FAU lead with 9:07 left in the first half.
A jumper by Graham and a pair of Monroe free throws gave FAU a 26-20 lead with 6:18 left. MT's Theryn Hudson would make a layup at 1:52 to bring the Blue Raiders within one, 28-27. A pair of Parmer free throws would stretch the lead to three, 30-27. Kanaskie and Monroe would trade layups for the halftime margin, 32-29.
MTSU hit 55.0 percent of its shot attempts, led by Kevin Kanaskie's eight points. Kyle Young added seven.
Florida Atlantic held a 20-11 halftime rebounding advantage.
Middle Tennessee opened the second half on a 17-4 run to sprint ahead, 50-38, with 13 minutes to go in the game. The Blue Raiders would maintain the lead throughout the second half as FAU's poor shooting night continued.
Rice hit two free throws with under three minutes remaining to cut the lead down to nine, 64-55. Following a MT turnover, he would hit a triple to bring FAU within six, 64-58 with less than two minutes left.
Following another defensive stand, Monroe was fouled with 1:07 remaining. He would split the pair, whittling the lead down to five, 64-59.
Strong defense would force the Blue Raiders to use their final two timeouts on the ensuing possession, but Calvin O'Neil would scramble for an open layup late in the shot clock for a 66-59 lead with under a minute remaining.
Rice would split a pair of free throws with 31 seconds left to bring FAU back within six, 66-60. Middle Tennessee would throw the inbounds pass away, giving the ball right back to Florida Atlantic. Graham would hit a jumper in the lane with 25 seconds left to bring the Owls within four, 66-62.
After a pair of Kanaskie free throws, Brent Crews would answer with the biggest shot of the game for FAU, a three from the right corner with 15 seconds left.
MTSU's Nigel Johnson sank a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to put the Blue Raiders up 70-65. Rice would answer with a three, but just three seconds remained on the clock. Johnson would hit two more free throws for the final margin, 72-68.
FAU will return to the court on Saturday, when the Owls host the ULM Warhawks at FAU Arena.