March 1, 2003
BOCA RATON, FL - Saturday was senior night for Florida Atlantic University and the Owls gave the University of Central Florida everything it could handle before falling 82-75. For the Owls, the loss wraps up a 7-21 (3-13 in the Atlantic Sun Conference) season. Earnest Crumbley was the game's highest scorer with 19 points.
The two teams traded buckets, and the lead, for much of the first half, as a late 9-0 run by UCF was the only thing that separated the two teams at halftime. The back-and-forth opening half included 11 ties and five lead changes. Momentum swung UCF's way once Crumbley was sent to the bench, saddled with his third foul. Thanks to its late spurt, UCF lead 42-33 at intermission. Wesley Edwards tied his career high in points, nine, all of which came in the first half.
The second half was just as competitive. FAU slowly chipped away at the UCF lead and pulled within two, 60-58, when Chris Thomas nailed a trey with 7:18 remaining. Seconds later, Crumbley stole a UCF pass and threw the ball down court to a streaking Antoine Stevens, who was fouled on his layup attempt. Stevens made one of his two free throws and FAU was down one, 60-59.
FAU stayed within striking distance until UCF pushed the lead to eight, 78-70, with just 40 seconds showing on the clock.
Crumbley just missed a double-double as the junior guard tallied nine assist and a career-high six steals. Joining Crumbley in double digits were Jeff Cowans, Nick Neumann, and Chris Thomas, with 15, 12, and 10 points respectively. Senior Avery Headley pulled down a game-high 10 boards.
UCF had five players score over ten points, lead by Ray Abellard's 18.
UCF sank 24 of 28 foul shots compared to FAU's 10 of 15 and out rebounded the Owls 39 to 32.
FAU wished farewell to its three seniors, Headley, Neumann,and Stevens, before tonight's contest.
"Our three seniors represented this program with leadership, integrity, and class," said head coach Sidney Green. "They will be missed."