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Late Rally Lifts Owls in Home Opener

Dec. 1, 2003

Final Stats

BOCA RATON, FL - Mike Bell scored a game-high 27 points, and Florida Atlantic University closed with a 10-2 run en route to an 89-87 victory over Florida International University Monday night at FAU Gymnasium. It was the home opener (1-2) for the Owls who picked up their first win of the season.

Bell went 9-for-17 from the field, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. He also chipped in nine rebounds and three blocks. Jeff Cowans added 18, and Kahleaf Watson had a career-high 15 points, including the game-winner with nine seconds left.

The fast-paced thriller featured a total of 35 turnovers, 20 by FIU (2-3), as well as a combined 138 field-goal attempts.

With 3:44 remaining, Marcus Robinson hit three free throws after being fouled on a three-point shot to put the Golden Panthers ahead 85-79. FAU then scored six unanswered points, capped off by a layup by Kahleaf Watson with 2:27 to go, to tie the game at 85.

Carlos Morban hit a jumper with 44 seconds left to give FIU an 87-85 lead. With 20 seconds left, Bell grabbed a rebound on a missed Cowans' three-pointer and dunked to tie the game at 87. Following an FIU timeout, Watson stole the ball and converted at the other end to put the Owls on top 89-87 with nine seconds remaining. FIU's last opportunity came on a missed Robinson jumper.

"The bottom line is we played like we practice," said FAU head coach Sidney Green. "We practice like this everyday. I was very happy we were able to dig down deep and cause turnovers."

For the game, FIU shot 49-percent from the field while the Owls managed 41-percent. FAU made 10 three-pointers compared to FIU's 2. In addition to Bell's four, Cowans and Earnest Crumbley added two from long range. Crumbley finished with nine points and seven assists.



FIU was led by Robinson's 26 points. Taurence Johnson scored 21.Junior Matias had 15, and Carlos Morban added 13. Robinson and Matias each went 9-for-9 from the line as FIU went 27-for-31 from the stripe compared to FAU's 15-for-19.

FIU led by as many as nine points in the first half before the teams went to the locker room tied at 50.

The game was the first between the two teams since November of 2000. Florida Atlantic next faces Barry University December 6 at home at 7:00pm.

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