BOCA RATON, Fla. - In a reversal of fortunes from earlier this season, the Florida Atlantic University men's basketball team fell to Rice on a buzzer-beating three, 79-76, on Thursday night. FAU is now 11-16 on the year and 5-10 in Conference USA play.
FAU struggled out of the gate, allowing Rice to build a 13-point halftime lead, 35-22. The second half fell into a pattern of FAU chipping away at the margin, before Rice responded to reestablish its cushion.
After a Connor Cashaw jumper gave Rice a 60-48 lead with seven minutes left on the clock, FAU once again started to whittle down the edge. This time, the rally would be complete when Gerdarius Troutman hit a three-pointer to put FAU up 61-60 with 3:38 to go.
Back-to-back Malik Osborne layups gave Rice a 64-61 lead at the 1:52 mark. A Jailyn Ingram layup and a pair of Rice free throws made the score 66-63 with just 19 ticks left. FAU appeared to miss its chance to tie the score when a late three-point try was off the mark, but Troutman capitalized on a Rice turnover and knocked down the tying bucket with three seconds to go to force overtime.
The extra session began with FAU scoring the first four points, but Rice countered with a 7-0 run to take a 75-72 lead with 11 seconds remaining. Rice fouled to keep FAU from being able to tie, but Payton Hulsey converted both free throw attempts to trim the margin to one, 75-74. After an FAU foul, Rice made just one of its two tries from the charity stripe and on the other end, Justin Massey drew a foul and was successful on both free throws to tie the game with just 2.1 seconds to go.
Ako Adams took the inbounds pass and was able to get the ball across halfcourt before launching a three-pointer that banked in to win the game for Rice.
- Ronald Delph led FAU in points (18) and rebounds (11) for his eighth double-double of the season. Delph's 236 rebounds on the year are the seventh-best single season total in FAU history.
- Jailyn Ingram scored 16 points and pulled down a career high tying eight rebounds.
- Gerdarius Troutman notched all 15 of his points in the second half and added four rebounds.
- Justin Massey posted 14 points and now has 76 made three-pointers this season, tied for seventh in school history.
- Payton Hulsey had six points and six rebounds to go with seven assists.
- William Pfister didn't score but grabbed nine rebounds.
FAU Head Coach Michael Curry
"We battled back to give ourselves a chance, but our first half put (us) in a bad situation."
The Owls host North Texas on Saturday, Feb. 24. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Saturday is Senior Night and the five seniors will be recognized prior to the game. A link to live stats and live video will be available at fausports.com. Fans can hear the game on ESPN 106.3 and live in-game updates will be available at the team's official Twitter account, @FAU_Hoops. For tickets, log on to FAUSports.com.