BOCA RATON, FL - Matt Doherty's first game in FAU Arena was a success as Florida Atlantic University edged the University of North Florida, 77-75, on Wednesday evening. The win was the first of the season for Owls as they improved to 1-2 on the year.
FAU got off to slow start on the offensive end, shooting 34% in the opening frame, but caught fire in the latter part of the session as they held a 38-37 advantage at the break. The Owls' defense forced 10 Ospreys' turnovers in the session.
DeAndre Rice scored six straight points to cut UNF's lead to four, 26-22, with 5:47 left in the half. Rice was 4-5 from three-point land and ended the first stanza with 15 points. The Ospreys pushed the lead back to six on their next possession, but Quinton Young and Ty McTyer knocked down back-to-back triples to knot it up at 28 at the 4:03 mark.
In the second half the Owls' defense was able to fluster the Ospreys' offense, scoring 12 points on 10 turnovers, and garnered in 19 points on 20 UNF turnovers on the night.
The Ospreys cut the lead to one, 62-61, when Rashad Williams converted a three-point play the old fashioned way with 7:58 left in the game. UNF then took its first lead of the half as Carl McNally connected down low to give them a 67-66 edge at the 3:24 mark.
FAU responded with five straight points as Rice netted a three-point play of his own and Kevin Green contributed two points in the paint. Holding the 71-67 lead with 1:33 left in the game, Brent Crews took a charge for the Owls. Rodney Webb hit all four of his charity tosses to seal the win.
"I thought we played really hard out there tonight. We still made some mistakes that we need to correct, but we were able to gut out a win down the stretch," head coach Matt Doherty said.
The Ospreys had five players score in double figures as they were led by Chris Timberlake's 17 points.
FAU will hit the hardwood again on Sunday, Dec. 4 as they host Jacksonville University at FAU Arena. Tip-time is set for 2 p.m.