Despite leading virtually the entire way in regulation, Florida Atlantic dropped an overtime heart breaker to the University of South Alabama (11-4, 3-0) tonight 96-93 at FAU Arena.
The Owls (5-9, 1-2) have now lost five straight.
After a 2-2 tie at the 18:33 mark of the first period, FAU controlled play taking a 41-31 advantage into the break and eventually built as much as a 15 point lead in the second period.
But things changed quickly at the 9:00 mark when the Jaguars went on a 8-0 run to close to 71-66 behind a jumper by Tim Williams.
“They showed why they’re one of perennial powers in this conference. They made plays when they had to make plays - big threes and free throws coming down the stretch", said Mike Jarvis.
Ray Taylor hit five of six free throws down the stretch to initially help the Owls weather the diligent late comeback attempt by the Jaguars.
South Alabama trailed by five with just 24 seconds left in regulation play until Tim Williams connected on a three to cut the lead to two. Taylor was then fouled, but could only connect on one of his free throws.
In the game changing play, Williams then hit another three to send the game into the extra period.
It was all South Alabama in overtime, as the Jaguars used an 8-2 run to go ahead 96-91 with just 27 seconds left.
The Owls had a chance to end the game in regulation with 3 seconds to go, but South Alabama stole it away in what appeared to be a foul as Taylor, who had the ball, laid strewn across the floor.
There was no call on the play.
Brett Royster, who fouled out with just over 2:00 to play in regulation, led all Owls with 20 points. Taylor added 18 and had a career high 13 assists.
FAU held a 45-34 rebounding advantage, but was out-shot 61.9% to 38.7% during the second half and over time period - a key difference.
In a high scoring affair, each team had five players post in double figures.
South Alabama was led by William’s 23 points.
FAU will host the Troy Trojans on Thursday at FAU Arena in the second of a four-game home stand. Game time is 7:00 p.m.