Hilltoppers Slip Past Owls 79-72 in Tough Fought Battle
Florida Atlantic put up a fight tonight at Diddle Arena, but foul trouble eventually played its hand as Western Kentucky held on to win 79-72.
In a game that featured 62 personal fouls, the Owls connected on just 18 of 31 attempts from the charity stripe.
“We’re going to fight every night, but you can’t win if you don’t make lay-ups and free-throws, and those are the two areas that killed us”, said head Coach Mike Jarvis.
Getting off to a slow start, FAU (7-10, 3-3) trailed 8-2 early on until a three pointer by Greg Gantt pushed FAU ahead 32-30 with 1:20 to play.
The Owls would take a 34-33 advantage into the break.
FAU employed a small line-up for the third straight game, but Sanchez Hughley, a key component of the smaller rotation, was whistled for his second personal just 3:00 into the contest. He would eventually foul out at the 11:24 mark of the second period.
The Owls were also without Alex Tucker and Brett Royster, who both fouled out, for the waning minutes of the period.
And that was a tough blow to take down the stretch defensively.
Despite Western Kentucky (10-5, 2-2) taking a 63-56 lead at the 9:19 mark of the second period, FAU would pull to within four at 76-72 behind a Ray Taylor floater in the lane with 2:23 to play.
After missed three pointers by Shavar Richardson and Taylor, a lay-up by WKU’s Jeremy Evans with: 40 to play sealed it for the Hilltoppers.
Greg Gantt led the Owls with 23 points on 5-6 shooting from long range, while Jordan McCoy added 13 points and eight rebounds – both career highs.
A.J Slaughter paved the way for the Hilltoppers with 25 points and six assists.