Nov. 21, 2003
TAMPA, FL -- Mike Bell led all scorers with 22 points, but it wasn't enough as Florida Atlantic University (0-1) was defeated by South Florida, 79-66, Friday night in its season opener in Tampa, FL. USF (1-0) used a 15-0 run late in the second half to pull away from the Owls.
FAU used a 6-0 run to close the gap to 64-62 with 5:08 to play before the Bulls stymied the Owls with 15 consecutive points and led 77-62 at the 0:59 mark. The run was the second of two big runs for the Bulls in the game. With FAU leading 16-14 with 8:02 left in the first half, USF went on a 17-0 run over the next five minutes to take a 31-16 lead. The Owls would close the gap to 39-27 at the half.
FAU started the second half with a 19-10 run and, after a Bell dunk and a Pierre Tucker free throw, trailed 47-46 with 10:37 left in the game. That was as close as the Owls would get as USF took the 62-54 lead at the 6:12 mark.
"Our kids played hard tonight," said FAU head coach Sidney Green, "I thought they executed. I was pleased with the way they came out in the second half and got right back into the game. There were a lot of positives to take from this even though we didn't come away with a victory."
USF shot 47 percent from the field while FAU shot 40 percent. The Owls were outrebounded 52-31 but forced 23 USF turnovers.
Florida Atlantic next faces Georgia November 25 in Athens, GA.