Jan. 17, 2004
BOCA RATON, FL - The men's basketball team at Florida Atlantic University fell 71-68 to Belmont University Saturday evening in FAU Gymnasium. Kahleaf Watson led FAU, scoring 17 points on six of nine shooting, but it wasn't enough as the Bruins hit seven three pointers in the second half in a come from behind effort. FAU fell to 7-8 on the year and 4-4 in the Atlantic Sun, while Belmont improved to 9-4 and 4-2. Belmont's Adam Mark led all scorers with 23 points.
The Owls jumped out to an early lead, scoring just four seconds into the game on a Watson layup. However, Belmont bounced back quickly to take a short-lived lead of its own, and the two teams proceeded to swap leads throughout the first half. Overall for the half, there were eight lead changes and four ties.
A late run at the end of the half provided the half time margin for the Owls. Fueled by Jimmy Bishop's three pointer and offensive put back, FAU went on a 7-2 run to lead, 30-25, at intermission.
FAU pushed its lead to 40-33 early in the second half before Belmont made a run, pulling within two, 40-38, with 13:54 left to play. The Owls responded by pushing the lead to a game-high eight points, 52-44, with 9:24 left to play. That's when the Bruins caught fire from behind the arc. Belmont hit five threes over the next four minutes of play, grabbing a six point lead, 62-56, with 5:27 remaining.
FAU battled back pulling within two, 65-63, with 2:08 showing on the clock, but the Bruins stretched the lead back to six, 71-65, with just 16 seconds remaining.
A Watson three point play, combined with a backcourt violation by Belmont with 8.6 seconds remaining made the game interesting. Earnest Crumbley's three point attempt to tie fell just short as time expired.
Saturday's game marked only the second time this season neither Crumbley nor Mike Bell scored in double figures for the Owls. Head coach Sidney Green was proud the way his team played despite the team's top-two scorers having an off night. "With our two top players not scoring, for us to be in the game speaks volumes about us as a team," Green said.
Jeff Cowans and Robert Williams joined Watson in double figures for the Owls pouring in 12 points each. Williams narrowly missed a double-double notching nine rebounds. Meanwhile, Mark did record a double-double, snatching 14 rebounds. BU's Steve Drabyn was the only other player in double digits with 11.
For the game, FAU out-rebounded BU 41-34, but it was the Bruins holding an edge in shooting percentage. Belmont made 49 percent of its shots compared to FAU's 40 percent.
FAU will be back in action when it hosts Lipscomb at 7:00 pm January 17.