Dec. 15, 2003
BOILING SPRINGS, NC -- Florida Atlantic University opened Atlantic Sun Conference play with a convincing 95-75 victory over Gardner-Webb University Monday night in Boiling Springs, NC. Mike Bell was one of four Owls in double-figures, leading FAU with 22 points. Earnest Crumbley scored 21 while Pierre Tucker and Robert Williams chipped in 16 and 13 points, respectively. The win extends FAU's winning streak to three games and improves the Owls to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the A-Sun.
GWU (2-6, 0-1 A-Sun) was led by Brian Bender, who led all scorers with 28 points.
The game featured a nearly flawless first half for the Owls from the field. FAU shot 70 percent on 23-of-33 shooting. That included a 9-for-9 start and a staggering 11-for-14 from beyond the arc.
FAU opened up with a 26-14 lead at the 12:38 mark. GWU, however, went on a 16-3 run to take a brief 30-29 lead with 8:31 remaining in the half.
Leading 44-42 with 3:27 left in the half, FAU went on a 13-4 run to close the half. It included two threes by Crumbley and another by Tucker. Tucker scored 15 of his points in the first half while Crumbley had 14. FAU led 57-46 at the break.
The Bulldogs put together an 11-0 run to start the second half to tie the game at 57-57 with 15:17 to play. The Owls would respond with seven straight points and never lost the lead again.
Crumbley, who finished with five treys, moved to within nine points of becoming FAU's second all-time leading scorer.
"I'm really proud of our kids tonight," said FAU head coach Sidney Green. "They executed our game plan. It was an overall team effort."
For the game, FAU shot a season-high 59 percent from the field. The Owls went 13-for-23 (57 percent) from beyond the arc.
FAU held GWU to 40 percent from the field. It's the lowest any opponent has shot against FAU this season. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Owls 39-37.
The 95 points were the most scored by FAU since posting 100 against Troy State on January 12, 2002. The 20-point victory is the largest for FAU in an A-Sun opener since defeating Centenary, 85-75, January 2, 1997.
Florida Atlantic next faces Campbell Wednesday at 7:00pm in Buies Creek, NC.