Jan. 23, 2003
ATLANTA, GA -- The rematch of last year's Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament championship game went down to the final shot, but this time it was Florida Atlantic University that came out on the short end. The Owls fell to the Panthers 66-64 Thursday night at GSU Sports Arena in Atlanta, GA. The loss drops FAU to 5-13 overall and 1-5 in the A-Sun.
GSU's Lamont McIntosh hit a jumper with 14.1 seconds left to put GSU up 66-64 before Earnest Crumbley missed a 23-footer as time expired that would have given FAU the victory. Crumbley, along with Chris Thomas, led FAU with 16 points. Nick Neumann had his fourth consecutive double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Both teams battled back and forth in the first half, and with FAU leading 27-25, GSU went on a 9-0 run to lead 34-27 with 1:01 left in the half. The Panthers would go on to lead 34-29 at the half.
In the second half, GSU (9-8, 4-2 A-Sun) opened up with a 13-3 run to take its largest lead of the game, 47-32, with 16:40 left in the game. FAU answered with a 13-2 run to pull to within 51-47 with 12:06 remaining.
The Panthers would lead by as many as nine later on before taking a 64-60 lead with 1:37 to go. A pair of free throws by Crumbley at the 1:11 mark, followed by two more by Jeff Cowans with 48 seconds left, tied the game at 64. In its next possession, the Panthers worked the ball and called time out with 21 seconds left in the game and 10 on the shot clock. After inbounding the ball, McIntosh hit what turned out to be the game-winner with 14.1 seconds left and three on the shot clock.
At the other end, Crumbley dribbled the ball up and worked open on the right wing for the three that rimmed out as time expired.
"I wanted to go for the win, and Earnest had a good look," said FAU head coach Sidney Green. "With his heart and desire, he will make that shot nine times out of ten. I will not hesitate to go back to him with the game on the line."
Crumbley did reach 1,000 career points in the loss. The junior's three-pointer with 17:22 left in the game pulled FAU to within 38-32 and gave him 1,000 for his career. He joins Cowans, who finished with eight points, as two of just four Owls to have accomplished the feat.
GSU shot 50.0 percent from the field while FAU was held to 38.7 percent. The Owls did outrebound the Panthers 38-28.
GSU's Nate Williams led all scorers with 24 points. He went 7-for-13 from the field and 10-for-12 from the line. Leroy Davis finished with 18.
The game was the first between the two teams since FAU defeated GSU 76-75 in last year's A-Sun Tournament championship game.
Florida Atlantic next faces Jacksonville State Saturday night in Jacksonville, AL.