Nov. 22, 2008
BOCA RATON, FL - Florida Atlantic is off to its best start in 20 years, improving to 3-1 for the first time in its 15-year Division I history after a 77-59 victory over UMKC. Florida Atlantic (3-1) and first-year head coach Mike Jarvis received 34 combined points from guards Paul Graham III and Shavar Richardson.
The Owls took a 13-point lead into the locker room at halftime and Graham scored seven consecutive points in the opening stages of the second half to allow FAU to lead by as many as 20. Richardson made three 3-pointers for the second-straight game and finished with a team-high 18 points.
"It was a nice night in 'The Burrow' - guys came to play," said Jarvis after the win. "The team is getting better, there's no doubt about it. I could feel a lot more energy tonight. I felt it was a good team effort on both ends of the court."
UMKC (1-3) was held to a 33.9 shooting percentage from the field and were out-rebounded 51-31. The Kangaroos got 22 points from sophomore guard Reggie Hamilton.
The FAU lead was 19 when Hamilton connected on one of his four three-pointers to bring UMKC to within 16, 59-43, with 8:06 remaining. UMKC got as close as 14 at the 2:54 mark but the game's outcome was never in question.
Graham needed just 43 seconds to score his first basket and would go on to finish with 16. His first bucket put Graham into FAU's 1,000-point club, just the seventh player in school history to achieve the feat.
"It is always great to reach a milestone," said Graham post-game. "It feels good to have reached it but the most important thing was getting the win tonight and starting off 3-1."
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Richardson helped FAU build a 16-point lead with 1:19 remaining in the opening period. Florida Atlantic led 32-19 at halftime.
Guards Carderro Nwoji and Xavier Perkins joined Richardson and Graham as double-figure scorers for FAU. Freshman Chris Watson had 12 rebounds, grabbing eight in the game's first nine minutes. Brett Royster added a career-high four blocks.
FAU will play No. 21 Davidson on the road Monday night.
"It certainly makes a huge difference being 3-1 instead of 2-2 as we go to face Davidson," said Jarvis. "A great opportunity awaits us."
GAME NOTES: FAU used the same starting lineup for the third-straight game... Freshman guard Alex Tucker made his collegiate debut after missing the first three games of the season due to an NCAA clearinghouse issue, subbing in at the 14:00-mark in the first half... Graham has now scored 1,014 points to move into sixth on FAU's all-time scoring list, passing Mike Bell (2003-05) who finished his career with 1,001... Two freshmen have been huge contribitors for the Owls, guard Shavar Richardson has led the team in scoring in each of the past two games and forward and Chris Watson is the team's leading rebounder (8.3 rpg)... The 17 points scored by sophomore Xavier Perkins was a career-high... Perkins averaged 15 in FAU's two exhibition games earlier this month.
Nick Mirkovich (FAU Media Relations)