Tucker, McCoy Post Career Highs in 85-76 Win Over Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Despite winning, the Owls struggled from the free throw line last night at just 23-of-42.
Trying to make sure it wouldn’t happen again, Coach Mike Jarvis had the team put in some extra time at the line today before tip-off. And it paid dividends.
For the first time since the 1990-91 season FAU is off to a 2-0 start with an 85-76 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee in day two of the Athletes In Action Classic.
“Anytime you beat a team from a really good conference, like they are from, that’s a big win. Not only for us, but it’s a big win for the league", said Jarvis.
The Owls never trailed in the contest, and connected on 33-of-46 attempts from the line; 20 of which came in the second half. Conversely, UWM free throw shooting suffered, as they capitalized on just 15-of-34 attempts.
Alex Tucker poured in a career high 18 points as FAU led by as many as 13 in the first period, and were up 45-34 at intermission.
But flat play early in the second frame saw that margin dwindled to just one as Ja’Rob McCallum sank a three for the Panthers to make it 51-50.
“That’s our Achilles heel right now. We’ve got to find a way to come and with energy to begin the second half”, Jarvis said.
Florida Atlantic would respond soon afterwards with an up-tempo attack led by Ray Taylor, embarking on an 18-8 run that effectively put the game out of reach for Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who could get no closer than seven points down the stretch.
“My five starters are really my five finishers”, said Jarvis. “That’s the key to winning is who finishes the game.”
Jordan McCoy, who also had a career night with 14 points, out hustled Panther big men consistently, hauling in eight rebounds to boot.
Neither team shot well from long range in the contest, but efforts improved slightly for the Owls, as they connected on 4-of-12 attempts. FAU's perimeter defense stifled UWM in the second half holding the Panthers to 27.8% (5-of-18).
Greg Gantt posted double figures for FAU, pitching in 18 points. Ironically, none of them were from beyond the arc.
“He is starting to realize he is more than a three point shooter, and that really is going to help us”, Jarvis said of Gantt’s performance. “He’s going to make us tough.”
The Owls conclude tournament play on Sunday against host University of Portland at 8:30 p.m.
“I was hoping we would be able to play them tomorrow at 2-0”, Jarvis said. “I know we’re going to have our hands full, and they might get a few more calls than we do, but so what.”
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