Greg Gantt scored a career high 19 points in his first start for FAU as the South Florida Bulls (6-1) defeated Florida Atlantic (2-3) in Tampa tonight 78-58 before an announced crowd of 4,571.
“As far as shooting the ball well, I did a pretty good job, but there were other things on the court that I can work on as far as defensive communication and getting back on defense. There’s a lot of room for improvement”, said Gantt.
The Owls were slow to get going early on, but managed to widdle a 12 point Bulls’ first half lead to just a basket with 2:28 to play in the period behind a Ray Taylor three pointer.
FAU applied consistent pressure underneath the basket forcing awkward shots from time to time from the Bulls post players.
“They took us out a little bit out of rhythm. They were feisty, and came in here to play’, said Bulls Head Coach Stan Heath.
Brett Royster had four of the Owls seven blocked shots.
But, in a tale of two halves, the Bulls came out of the locker room with a vengeance during the second period getting both stops and rebounds. USF snuffed the Owls on eleven straight possessions while embarking on a 19 point run from which they would not look back.
The Owls shot just 8 of 34 (23.5%) during the second period.
One of the prime reasons was the Bulls star center/forward Augustus Gilchrist who scored career high 27 points (23 in the second half) while grabbing seven rebounds.
“He’s (Gilchrist) as skilled a big man as we will play this year. But I don’t think he’ll have as many of his shots blocked this year as he did tonight”, said Owl’s Head Coach Mike Jarvis.
Brett Royster placed the Bulls’ second half swing on failed execution.
“It wasn’t so much what they did, we stopped doing some of the things that we did in the first half that kept us in the game”, said Royster.
“What we haven’t done yet with this young team is play both halves”, said Jarvis
The Owls will likely use the contest as a measuring stick against the most important opponents on the schedule - Sun Belt members.
It is evident that, despite some mismatches against a Big East opponent with a top 10 center who is expected to be an NBA draft selection, things are beginning to look good for those contests.
In addition to his 12 points, Ray Taylor dished out eight assists while committing only one turnover - a season best ratio for the freshman point guard.
Concluding a four game road stretch (1-3), FAU returns to The Burrow to host the University at Albany on Monday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00PM EST.