Rodney Webb recorded his fourth straight double-double but it was not enough as the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team fell to the University of South Florida, 62-44, at the Sun Dome in Tampa on Thursday evening.
Webb bucketed 11 points and pulled down 11 rebounds - both team highs - and hit all six of his free throw attempts. The 6'7" Webb had to contend on the defensive end with USF's 6'10" center Solomon Jones, who finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks, all game highs.
Webb and his FAU teammates battled all night long, forcing 18 turnovers while collecting eight steals in the game and maintaining a 40-37 edge in rebounds. The high-energy Owls simply could not find an answer to Jones, explained head coach Matt Doherty.
"We were focused and disciplined on the defensive end, really getting after them in order to compensate for Jones' impact. Unfortunately, that means we had to expend a lot of energy in trying to overcome our size disadvantage. Combined with just one day off and traveling for this game, we were unable to keep up with the Bulls late in the game."
FAU came out with energy, scoring eight straight points to forge ahead, 18-9, less than 10 minutes into the game. Behind seven points each from Webb and Derrick Simmons, the Owls went into the break on top, 27-25.
Late in the half the Bulls (5-3) gained momentum by scoring 10 of the final 12 points and then came back to score the first 11 points of the second half to go on top, 36-27.
FAU did not give in, pulling to within eight points, 47-39, with seven minutes remaining, but was unable to complete the comeback. Brent Crews complimented Webb's performance by adding nine rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Owls.
"We gave our all, we left everything on the court and that is all that coach (Doherty) asks of us," said Ty McTyer following the game. "No excuses but we simply ran out of energy at the end."
The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Owls (3-3).
FAU returns to action at the Billy Minardi Classic, hosted the University of Louisville, on Tuesday, Dec. 20 against the College of Charleston at 9:30 p.m. They will then play on Wednesday evening against either Louisville or Middle Tennessee State before taking a break for the holidays.
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