It took over two years, but FAU's home and home series with Tommy Amaker's Crimson came to a close with a 68-53 punishing from the Owls. Harvard won the first meeting 63-51 back on December 22, 2011.
Florida Atlantic (7-12, 2-2 C-USA) had seemingly began to turn the corner with consecutive wins before last Saturday's disappointing home loss to Old Dominion, and were significant underdogs on Tuesday night.
However tapping unlikely sources, they started strong, squelched every challenge, and finished off a quality opponent at the hands of Marquan Botley's career best 23 point effort. Botley (pictured) began the game 6-of-6 from long range, and Dragan Sekelja, who had been sidelined with a back injury returned for a career showing as well with six dishes to compliment five rebounds and three blocks.
Most importantly, defense rose to the occasion multiple times while limiting Harvard (14-3) to just a 23.0% overall shooting effort and a 2-of-12 (16.7%) showing from behind the arc - both season lows.
FAU led by as many as 15 points in the first half before Harvard (14-3, 1-0 Ivy) snuck to within nine points to trail 29-20 at the break. Florida Atlantic countered with a 16-8 run in the first 6:08 of the second period only to see the Crimson draw within just five points with 5:36 remaining.
From there the Owls kept the pressure on, pulling away for the deciding margin by hitting 5-of-8 shots from the floor and connecting on 10-of-13 free throw attempts. Pablo bertone scored six of his 17 points for the tilt during the span.
Collectively, FAU's front court tallied a total of 12 blocked shots, which was their most all year.
The team will next travel to rival Florida International on Saturday for a 6:00 PM tip at U.S. Century Bank Arena in Miami, FL. The game will be televised on Comcast Sports Southeast.