Dec. 14, 2011
STARKVILLE, MS - Florida Atlantic returned to the site of one of last season's biggest victories and fought valiantly, but could not pull off a repeat of last season's win, falling to #17 Mississippi State 75-68 on Tuesday.
MSU (10-1) built a 13-point lead less than nine minutes into the game, but the Owls pulled to within four, 23-19, at the 5:37 mark of the first half. The Bulldogs responded with a run of their own to push the lead back to 13 with 22 seconds left, but Omari Grier hit a three at the buzzer to cut the lead to 38-28 at the half.
The Owls (4-6) seized momentum early in the second half got within two after a Greg Gantt three-pointer at the 18:06 mark. Another MSU run put the lead at 54-44 with 12:31 left in the game. Over the next three minutes, FAU chipped away at the deficit, finally taking the lead on when Pablo Bertone scored three of his 12 second half points to give the Owls a 55-54 lead with 9:22 remaining.
The lead changed hands several times over the next three minutes, with Dee Bost giving a 61-60 lead at the 6:14 mark. FAU continued to battle, but were unable to regain the lead. Raymond Taylor led the Owls with 20 points. Bertone had seven rebounds to go along with his 14 points.
FAU will face Miami at noon on Saturday at the BankAtlantic Center as part of the Orange Bowl Classic. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net and live audio will be available at www.fausports.com.