Feb. 28, 2004
BOCA RATON, FL - Florida Atlantic University concluded its regular Saturday night in a 67-65 loss to Gardner-Webb University in Boca Raton, FL. The outcome of the game did not impact FAU's position in next week's Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. FAU (9-18, 6-14 A-Sun) will be the no. 8 seed and will take on top-seeded Troy State March 4 in the first round in Nashville, TN.
Against Gardner-Webb, Mike Bell led all scorers with 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds. It was Bell's 10th double-double of the season. Brian Bender led GWU with 17 points and nine rebounds.
FAU did its best to battle back from a 13-point deficit with just over four minutes to play. The Owls went on a 7-0 run, capped off by a Bell three-pointer, and trailed 65-59 with 1:50 remaining. Andre Manning hit two free throws to put the Bulldogs up 67-59 at the 1:16 mark.
On the next possession, Earnest Crumbley, who finished with 14 points, hit a three to pull the Owls within 67-62. With 47 seconds left, a Bell three made it 67-65, and a jumper by Crumbley at the buzzer missed that would have tied the game.
FAU shot just 36 percent on the night while GWU went 42 percent from the field. FAU forced 23 turnovers and committed just 15. The Owls' largest lead was two while the Bulldogs led by as many as 14. The game was tied at 36 at the half.
Florida Atlantic will now turn its attention to the A-Sun Tournament next Thursday through Saturday in Nashville, TN. The winner of the tournament receives the A-Sun's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. FAU's quarterfinal match-up with Troy State is schedule for Thursday at 1:00pm EST. The game can be heard live on WLVJ 1040-AM.