Jan. 11, 2003
MACON, GA -- Florida Atlantic University (4-11, 0-3 Atlantic Sun Conference) was defeated by Mercer University, 86-79, Saturday night in Macon, GA. Earnest Crumbley led FAU with 15 points while Nick Neumann had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and a career-high six blocks. FAU's Jeff Cowans surpassed 1,000 career points in the defeat.
Mercer's Wesley Duke led all scorers with 18 points.
Mercer (8-3, 3-0 A-Sun) took an initial 5-0 lead before the Owls tied the game at 16-16 on a three-pointer by Antoine Stevens at the 12:18 mark of the first half. Neumann scored eight points during the stretch.
After Mercer jumped out to a 24-18 lead, the Owls responded with an 11-4 run capped off by a three-pointer by Bishop. At that point, FAU led 29-28, which turned out to be its only lead of the game. The short-lived advantage was erased as Mercer closed the half on a 15-4 run to take a 43-33 advantage into halftime.
The Bears opened the second half on a 7-2 run to take a 50-35 lead with 18:22 left in the game. FAU would not get the deficit under 10 points until a pair of free throws by Thomas drew the Owls within 76-67 at the 3:51 mark. A jumper by Crumbley with 52 seconds left pulled the Owls within 78-71, but that would be as close as they would get.
The only other question was whether Cowans would reach the milestone. With 2:51 left, he hit two free throws to give himself nine points on the night and 999 for his career. With 26 seconds left, Cowans connected from behind the free throw line to surpass 1,000 points for his career. He joins Craig Buchanan (1,501) and Damon Arrnette (1,246) as the only Owls with as many points.
Crumbley is next in line to reach 1,000 points. The junior, who tied a season-high with eight assists on Saturday, currently stands at 975 career points.
For the game FAU outrebounded Mercer 45-42, but the Bears outshot the Owls 47 percent to 38 percent. Each team committed 17 turnovers.
Florida Atlantic next hosts Jacksonville University January 18 at FAU Gymnasium in the team's first home game since December 3.
"We are looking forward to playing at home," said FAU head coach Sidney Green. "Unfortunately, the road didn't pan out the way we had hoped. However, our players got some experience by playing other high profile programs like Iowa and San Diego State. Now they see what it takes."
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