Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Skip navigation

Owls Lack Defense and Firepower to Overcome "Good ACC Team"


Owls Lack Defense and Firepower to Overcome "Good ACC Team"

By Bob Markey II

CORAL GABLES – FAU led briefly in its first-ever NIT game Wednesday night at the Bank Atlantic Center, but the Owls dropped consistently 8 to 20 points behind and, thanks to missed free throws and the lack of a three-point threat, lost for the 20th time in 21 tries, to the University of Miami, 85-62.

The game was a bit closer than the final score indicates. Miami padded its lead late as the Owls took desperation threes and played many substitutes, as the Hurricanes preferred break-aways and jams.

“Tough team. Very talented,” third-year FAU coach Mike Jarvis said of the Hurricanes, which lost last week at the buzzer to North Carolina in the ACC tournament. “If you’re gonna beat a good ACC team, you have to play incredibly well. You can’t miss 8 free throws and you can be out-rebounded by 8 (36-28) … You’ve got to do all those little things very well if you want to beta a talented team on their court.”

“It’s more about what we didn’t do than we they did. If we had played a little better inside, things would have been different,” said senior forward Brett Royster, who played his final game for FAU.

FAU, in a furious comeback around the 12-minute mark of the second half, closed the gap to 6 (51-45) on a three by Taylor, steal by junior guard Alex Tucker (6 points), and two jumpers by Gantt. FAU got the ball back on another Tucker steal and Taylor then missed a three that would have cut the Miami lead to 3. Miami then ran off 6 points and FAU never got closer than 8 points down and fell to as many as 20 down before the final tally.

“We don’t let that (trailing) bother us,” said Royster, who said the Owls’ defense improved early in the second half bring them close.

Junior guard Malcomb Grant led the Hurricanes with a career-high 23 points. Sophomore center Reggie Johnson had 14 points (was 7-for-10 shooting) and became the first UM player to record 20 rebounds since basketball returned to Miami in 1985.

He (Grant) is a load in more ways than one,” Jarvis said. “They don’t usually pass him the ball that much, but when they do, he gets it done. They were smart to go to him …”

Durand Scott had 19 for the Hurricanes (20-14).

The Owls (21-11) were led by sophomore guard Greg Gantt with 17 points. Freshman guard Dennis Mavin had 15 and sophomore guard Ray Taylor, 10.

“Dennis (Mavin) is our most athletic wing,” Jarvis said. “He had a lot of lessons he had to learn during the year and sometimes it was very difficult for him to be on the bench. But in the end, he started to do more and more of the things we've asked him to do … if we had a couple more guys like him tonight I think the score is a lot closer.”

Taylor was 2-for-9 in three-point attempts, while Gantt hit was 1-of-4 and junior guard Shavar Richardson was 1-for-3 from behind the arc.

Royster had two blocks and many more called fouls by the very critical referees. He scored 7 points.

Jarvis said he wished Royster had been redshirted in his freshman year (a decision made by a previous coach) because of his great improvement and abilities yet to be seen.

“He’s improved a lot,” Jarvis said. “I wish we had him another year because there's so much more that he’s going to need to learn. I think he'll get an opportunity somewhere in Europe to develop his skills further.”

Forward Kore White did not score in 8 minutes of play.

“He’s going to have to figure out a lot of things very quickly because I expect a lot from him,” Jarvis said, “and when they day comes that I don’t expect a lot from him, you won’t see him on the court any more.

“The good news is, he’s just a sophomore.”

The game drew hundreds of FAU students and fans – and the FAU Parliament Sound band – to Coral Gables, who early in the game almost equaled the number of Hurricanes on hand. At times, the Owls faithful made more noise than the home fans. The announced spring break crowd numbered 1,509.

The Hurricanes will host Southeast Missouri State in the second round of the NIT at 7 p.m. Monday. The game is set for an ESPN telecast.

The season ends for the Owls, who recorded a record 21 games in 2010-11, won the regular season Sun Belt Conference championship and participated in the NCAA post-season for the second time. Jarvis’ team loses two seniors, including Sun Belt record-setting blocker Royster, but is expected to be equally or more talented in 2011-12.

Jarvis said he told his team to “dwell on the positive” after a record-breaking season.

“It was a great year. We have much to be grateful for and thankful for,” he said.

“I’m proud of these kids and I love these kids and I want them to know that. We tried to let them know how much they mean to us and how much they can do on and off the court.”

“This is the beginning of building a legitimate mid-major program,” Jarvis said. “But it’s going to take a lot of work …”
Back to the top