FORT MYERS, Fla. - (Dec. 5, 2017) – The Florida Atlantic University men’s basketball team went on the road and rallied from a 14-point first half deficit to defeat mid-major powerhouse Florida Gulf Coast 92-88 on Tuesday night. FGCU is ranked no. 16 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll. The win is the third in a row for the Owls, who improved to 5-3 on the season.
It was a nip and tuck affair in the early going as both teams took turns building momentum. The score was tied at 23 when the Eagles (6-4) went on an 11-0 run to seize control. The lead remained 11 at halftime, 45-34.
FAU roared out of the locker room, rallying to tie the score 53-53 just over five and a half minutes into the second half. From that point, the two teams engaged in a tug-of-war for control of the action. Neither side was able to maintain control of the action. The 10th and final tie of the evening came at 82-82 with 4:08 left, setting up the dramatic conclusion.
Three FAU free throws put the Owls up 85-82 with 3:14 left, but FGCU answered with a pair of its own, trimming the lead to 85-84. Another free throws exchange ended with FAU up 87-85 at the 1:48 mark when senior Justin Massey hit his fourth three-pointer of the night, putting the Owls up 90-85. After the Eagles pulled to within two at 90-88, Gerdarius Troutman hit a pair of free throws. Payton Hulsey grabbed a loose ball on the defensive end and called the Owls’ final timeout with seven-tenths of a second remaining, securing the win for FAU.
- It was the Owls’ third straight game of at least 90 points, the first time they have done that since the first three games of the 1988-89 season.
- FAU scored 58 second half points, the fourth time this year they have scored more than 50 in a single half.
- The Owls’ elder statesmen stepped up, as the senior class scored 73 points on the night, including 49 of the team’s 58 second half points.
- Ronald Delph and Payton Hulsey each added 19 points and both made key baskets down the stretch.
- Gerdarius Troutman scored 14 points and Anthony Adger tallied 10, giving FAU five players in double-digits for the second straight game.
- While he didn’t score, senior forward William Pfister grabbed four rebounds and was singled out by Head Coach Michael Curry for helping to slow down the Eagles’ offensive attack.
- FAU held the Eagles without a field goal for nearly three and a half minutes late in the game.
- The Owls’ shot just 34.4 percent from the floor in the first half, but torched the net by shooting 56.3 percent from the floor in the second half.
- Coach Curry also thanked the FAU students, who made the bus trip across the state for helping boost the Owls’ morale.
FAU Head Coach Michael Curry
“(The coaches) are really happy and excited for the guys. They worked their tails off…I think you saw the way we were able to come back and play in the second half that the physical and mental toughness is there.”
“Once we were able to establish Ronald (Delph), everything goes off of him. (Justin) Massey was able to get shots, Payton (Hulsey) was able to go one-on-one against their guards in the post and Gerdarius (Troutman) was able to get shots.”
FAU hosts Webber International on Sunday, Nov. 10. Tip-off is set for noon. Live stats and live video will be available at fausports.com. The game will air on ESPN3. Live audio will be available on ESPN 106.3 FM. In game updates will also be available at twitter.com/FAU_Hoops. For tickets, call the FAU Ticket Office.