In a blistering second half shooting performance, Florida Atlantic found its way back into the win column tonight with an 81-65 win against the Great Danes of University at Albany.
Albany jumped out to an early 12-6 lead behind the play of forward Will Harris, and would lead by as many as 10 in the first period.
The Danes would hold that advantage until late in the first half when Greg Gantt hit a three pointer to give FAU its first lead at 31-30.
The Owls enjoyed a 37-34 advantage at the break.
Gantt, who was starting his second consecutive game, caught fire in the second half to pace a second half FAU three point barrage (7 of 9) that would render Albany winded and deflected.
“I started the season off struggling a little bit, and my coaches preached know that every shot is going in and shoot the same shots. That motivated me”, said Gantt.
Gantt finished with a game, and career, high 24 points to lead all scorers.
“They were a step or two quicker tonight. That was our worst defensive effort of the season so far”, said Albany Head Coach Will Brown.
Albany had held its own in the first period making the Owls defend, and scoring in transition on pull-up jumpers.
But FAU moved into a zone set, and focused on rebounding in the second to make the Danes work harder when returning from the break.
“What happens with zones is if you are ahead and you can play zone late in the games, you usually have a pretty good chance of being successful because by that time the other team’s legs are gone”, said Head Coach Mike Jarvis.
It paid off, as FAU went on a game defining 17-4 run to secure the win.
DeMonte Simpson had a career high 10 rebounds.
The Owl’s bench also was a factor, contributing 26 points to that of just eight for the Danes. Sanchez Hughley and Shavar Richardson each finished in double figures with 10 points.
Perhaps of most importance, FAU found a way to win without the scoring services of Ray Taylor, who finished with a modest six points.
Teams will undoubtedly focus on him from here on out.
The Danes were led by forward Will Harris, who scored 20 points on seven of ten shooting from the floor.
FAU concludes its two-game home stand on December 10th when they host Warner Southern at 7:00PM.