Little Big Man
In the middle of a five game road trip, Florida Atlantic won their second game tonight 82-77, knocking of Troy (1-8, 0-1) in overtime at Trojan Arena.
While showing signs of maturity for a team that has found road wins sparse in recent years, the victory provided an early notch in conference standings, and showcased a coming out party for guard Ray Taylor as well.
Taylor had been struggling from long range heading into the contest after a 1-7 performance against Siena on Monday.
But he knocked down 6-of-12 tonight, including five in the latter periods, as FAU shot a healthy 48% from beyond the arc.
“We were waiting for him to have a really good all around game and make some of those threes, and he couldn’t have picked a better night”, said Coach Mike Jarvis afterwards.
The Owls (7-5, 1-0) employed a new lineup out of the gate with Taylor getting his first start of the season over Dennis Mavin, and Jordan McCoy replacing Kore White.
However, it didn’t prove beneficial initially. FAU scored the games first basket, and led 5-3 early until the Trojans used a blistering pace to build a 12 point lead with under 5:00 to play in the first period.
In reminiscent fashion of the last half against Siena, FAU shewn a furious rally capped by Shavar Richardson three-pointer to pull to within two points before trailing 39-35 at intermission.
“We started moving the ball a lot better and making some shots that we weren’t earlier”, Jarvis said.
The team’s traded double digit runs to start the second half, with the Owls leading way to a 45-39 lead before surrendering 11 straight and a 50-43 Trojan advantage.
In a tightly fought battle down the stretch, FAU was ahead 68-65 with :39 remaining in regulation before Regis Huddleston drained a long ball for Troy to send the contest into overtime.
That’s when Taylor, who led all scorers with 24 points, took over accounting for 10 of the Owls 14 digits in the extra frame.
Two triples and four straight free throws by the speedster notched the win for Florida Atlantic, which was another first during the Jarvis era.
“We’ve got a lot of firsts going. First SEC victory, first BIG East victory, first Colonial Athletic Conference victory, and now the first victory at Troy”, said Jarvis.
The Trojans, who out rebounded the Owls 45-34 and held a 30-20 margin in the paint, have now lost their eighth straight; tying a program record for consecutive losses since moving to DI status.
Brett Royster (13 points, 9 rebounds) recorded seven blocked shots for the second straight game.
Florida Atlantic had four players in double figures and registered a season high nine steals.
The Owls continue conference play against Louisiana-Monroe on Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
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