Feb. 7, 2009
BOCA RATON, FL - Troy extended its win-streak to eight games, rallying to beat Florida Atlantic 78-63 Saturday.
Florida Atlantic (5-20; 1-12 Sun Belt) made just eight field goals in the second half, allowing a 47-40 lead with 17 minutes left to evaporate. Paul Graham III scored a career-high 33 points for FAU, making 8 of 11 from 3-point range. As a team Florida Atlantic took 35 of its 56 shots from beyond the arc.
Troy's Brandon Hazzard had an answer for Graham's 33, scoring a career-high 30 points of his own. Troy (15-10; 10-3 Sun Belt) has won 10 of 11.
Graham hit a 3-pointer with 16:36 left to play to give FAU the 47-40 lead. The Trojans then went on a 17-5 run, taking a 57-52 advantage with 12 minutes left on Tom Jervis' dunk. After a free throw by FAU's Shavar Richardson - FAU's lone point during a 15-1 Troy surge - the Trojans reeled off 10-straight points to pull away, 67-53.
Richardson scored 16 for Florida Atlantic and freshmen classmate Alex Tucker had five assists.
Tucker reached 111 assists for the season, breaking the FAU freshmen assist record of 107 set by Earnest Crumbley in 2000-01. Making his accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that he missed the first three games of the season. Tucker - averaging 5.0 assists per night - is on pace to break Crumbley's all-time school single-season record of 145, which Crumbley set during his senior year in 2003-04.
Graham made three quick triples - accounting for nine of FAU's first 10 points - but Troy began the game making 9 of 13 shots from the field and led 28-14 after the first 11 minutes. Graham had 22 of his 33 before the intermission, fueling a 14-2 FAU run which cut Troy's 14-point first half lead down to a basket 30-28.
Graham was phenomenal in the first half of FAU's game at Kentucky earlier this season, scoring 20 in the opening 20 minutes en route to establishing what was then a career high of 31 points. Graham, a senior from Philadelphia, is scoring a league-leading 19.8 points per game within conference play.
The game was tied at halftime 40-40.
The Trojans responded after the Owls scored the first seven points of the second half, using five points by Hazzard to quickly close the gap and went on to out-score the Owls 27-6 in next 10 minutes. Hazzard scored 13 during Troy's 27-6 second half push.
Florida Atlantic will try and rebound Thursday night when the Owls host Denver. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.