Dec. 20, 2007
JONESBORO, AR - Carderro Nwoji made a huge impact in his first Sun Belt Conference game, but his career-high 25 points were not enough as the Florida Atlantic University men's basketball team lost its Sun Belt opener to Arkansas State.
The game was close from the opening tipoff as neither team managed a lead bigger than six through the first 20 minutes. The Owls were powered by 12 points by both Carlos Monroe and Jeff Parmer in the half. However, a P.J. Keaton three-pointer just before the half gave the Indians a 40-37 lead at the break. The two teams combined to make 28 of their 51 (54.9%) of their first half field goal attempts.
Both teams picked up where they left off in the second half. The game was a back and forth affair with Nwoji and Arkansas State's Ryan Wedel playing huge parts. ASU held a 43-40 lead early in the second half when Nwoji scored FAU's next 12 points on four consecutive three pointers to help give the Owls a 52-47 lead. Another Nwoji three gave the Owls a 65-59 lead with 7:54 remaining. A Derrick Simmons layup gave FAU a 67-61 lead, when ASU responded with a 9-3 run. All four baskets during the exchange with three pointers, including yet another by Nwoji.
The teams were tied at 77 with 47 seconds remaining when Wedel hit a jumper to give the Indians a two-point lead. FAU had the ball when a deflection by an ASU defender led to a controversial out of bounds call that gave the ball to ASU. The Owls fouled Wedel, who missed the front end of a one and one to give FAU life. The Owls managed to get a good look at a three-pointer, but Sean Alarcon's would be gamewinner came up just short at the buzzer.
"I told Sean (Alarcon) that he gets that shot and misses it 1,000 times, I would still give him the ball again," said head coach Rex Walters after the game.
Nwoji was one of four Owls in double figures. Carlos Monroe had 15 points and 14 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year.
FAU will travel to Monmouth on Sunday December 23rd at 2 p.m. Live audio play-by-play of the game will be available on WMEN-640AM and fausports.com.