March 1, 2002
ORLANDO, FL - Florida Atlantic University moved one step closer to its first Atlantic Sun Conference championship Friday with a 55-47 victory over Jacksonville State at the A-Sun Tournament in Orlando, FL. Earnest Crumbley led all scorers with 16 points as the Owls closed the game on an 11-3 run. Jay Heard led JSU with 11 points.
The win sends FAU (18-11) to the championship game of the tournament in which the Owls will face defending champion Georgia State with the winner claiming the A-Sun's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. FAU had never advanced past the quarterfinals prior to this year.
Defense was the theme in this semifinal battle as both teams were held to just 33 percent shooting. FAU led 27-18 at the half and 30-20 with 17:55 left before JSU (13-16) went on 14-2 run to lead 34-32 with 11:08 remaining. After the Owls regained the lead, JSU's Emerson Brown connected from beyond the arc to tie the game at 44 with 3:34 left.
The Owls then went on an 8-0 run over the next 2:55 to lead by eight points with 39 seconds remaining. A key moment in that stretch was a running jumper by Jeff Cowans with the shot clock running down that gave FAU a 48-44 lead with 2:08 left. Cowans finished with 12 points as the only other Owl in double figures.
It was the second straight game FAU won while being held under 40 percent. JSU held a 44-33 edge on the boards but committed 21 turnovers. FAU gave the ball up just 10 times.
FAU and Georgia State split their season series with the home team winning both games. FAU won 90-77 on January 5 while GSU won 76-71 on February 9.
Saturday's game will begin at 2:00pm and will air on WLVJ 640-AM and live on ESPN.