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Owls Upset Illini as 15 Point Underdogs

Anthony Adger’s career-high 27 points, and Madiaw Niang’s first career double-double powered the Florida Atlantic University men’s basketball team to a 73-71 overtime win against Illinois on Saturday.  The Owls improved to 9-4 with the win.

“It was an exciting game for our young guys. I feel like we had some guys grow up and really compete at a high level", said Head Coach Dusty May. "I thought we did a great job on the glass.”

The game was a defensive minded affair in the early going, as both teams endured long scoreless stretches in the first half. The Illini (4-9) scored the final seven points of the frame to take a 26-21 lead into the locker room.

FAU fought its way back into the lead and Jaylen Sebree hit a three-pointer that made the score 51-42 in the Owls’ favor with less than six minutes left in regulation. Illinois rallied to tie the game at 63-all with 3.1 seconds to go. FAU had a heave at the buzzer, but the shot was offline, forcing an extra session.

Richardson Maitre made a pair of free throws to give the Owls a 65-63 edge at the 3:41 mark of overtime, but Illinois scored four straight points to take a 67-65 advantage. On the ensuing FAU possession, Adger buried a triple to push the Owls ahead 68-67. Aaron Jordan answered with a three-pointer of his own, taking the lead back for the Illini, 70-68, at the 2:04 mark.

After an Aleksandar Zecevic jumper leveled the score at 70, Illinois split a pair at the line to retake a one-point cushion, 71-70. After an empty possession for each team, Jaylen Sebree was whistled for his fifth foul with 32 seconds to go. However, the Illini missed both attempts from the charity stripe. Maitre pushed the ball ahead to Adger who hit a jumper and drew the foul. Adger’s free throw attempt was good and the Owls had a 73-71 cushion with 20 seconds left.

Fittingly, the Owls’ defense, that had kept them in contention all afternoon, sealed the win by holding the Illini scoreless on their final possession.

FAU begins Conference USA play on Thursday at 8:00 PM against UAB.

Related Links

GAME THREAD: FAU @ Illinois - December 29, 2018 - FAU Owl's Nest

2018-19 Florida Atlantic Men's Basketball Schedule - FAU Owl's Nest