Feb. 4, 2002
BOCA RATON, FL - Raheim Brown scored 23 points as Florida Atlantic University held on to defeat Mercer University, 72-71, Monday night in Boca Raton, FL. Mercer's Jay January missed a 25-footer from the right side at the buzzer that would have given Mercer an upset victory. With the win, FAU improves to 13-8 overall and 10-4 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The loss was Mercer's 13th straight and dropped the Bears to 3-20 and 1-13 in the A-Sun. Aleem Muhammad led Mercer with 23 points.
The win was FAU's second straight by one point and third straight overall by a total of four points. The Owls maintained a tie for first place in the A-Sun with Troy State University.
FAU cruised to a 41-26 halftime lead before Mercer chipped away in the second half. A lay-up by Will Emerson with 10:47 to play pulled the Bears to within 53-48. Jeff Cowans responded with treys in each of FAU's next two possessions to give the Owls a 59-48 lead with 9:56 remaining.
Mercer pulled closer again with a 12-6 run to trail 65-60 with 5:15 left. A three-pointer by Noel West cut the margin to 67-65 with 3:49 left. After Nick Neumann went 1-of-2 from the line with 56 seconds left, FAU led 72-69. A jumper by West 17 seconds later cut the lead to 72-71, and after two missed free throws by Cowans with four seconds remaining, January tried for the game-winner at the other end.
Brown finished 5-of-8 from the field and 13-of-16 from the line while also blocking three shots. The Owls, as a team, nearly squandered the lead from the free throw line, going just 22-of-37 and 11-of-22 in the second half. FAU went just 2-of-8 from the line in the final 2:04.
Mercer outshot FAU 42 percent to 39 percent while the Owls outrebounded the Bears 38-37. Robert Williams was the only other Owl in double figures with 13 points. Brown led FAU with nine rebounds, just missing his ninth double-double of the season.
Florida Atlantic next plays at Campbell Thursday at 7:00pm.