Some hoops fans across the country likely got their first taste of FAU men’s basketball today when dialing up ESPN2.
What they took in is likely to have them wanting more, as the Sun Belt's hottest team Florida Atlantic (15-6, 7-0) defeated Arkansas Little Rock 88-71 before 2,343 at FAU Arena.
Free throw shooting wasn’t the prettiest, but there were plenty of dunks, and exciting transition baskets to provide even the pickiest of fans a pleasant taste on their pallet.
“The league couldn’t have picked a better game for today”, Coach Mike Jarvis said of the contest.
The win matches the program's longest consecutive game win streak since the 1990-91 season and keeps the Owls in first place in Sun Belt play with a half game lead over Denver.
“It’s a great accomplishment, letting us know that our hard work is paying off – getting up early in the morning”, said guard Ray Taylor.
“Big difference from my freshman year - I think we might have won one - and it’s like a complete opposite, a great feeling”, added junior Alex Tucker.
Going inside, the Trojans (12-10, 4-3) started the game off with a 6-0 run until the Owls made some adjustments and countered with 10 straight of their Own.
“Coming down the court coach signaled to just be solid; because if you don’t have angles you can’t score…we took those angles away (from them)", Taylor said.
Tramar Sutherland's lay-up mid way through the period had UALR back on top 20-19, but the Owls established some separation on free throws late for a 42-37 halftime lead.
Three point shooting kept Arkansas Little Rock within striking distance for part of the second period, but FAU turned up the offensive pressure building a game high 17 point advantage with just over 2:00 remaining.
“Growing and learning from our mistakes is allowing us to keep teams away. When we get in the lead we’re trying to go from 6, to 8, 10, to 15 and keep the lead”, Tucker said.
Kore White knocked in a career high 22 points, and 11 rebounds to lead the Owls, who had five players in double figures.
“I felt like they really had match-up problems looking at how their guys were guarding me; they were always looking for another team mate to help them", said White.
“When he plays off his instincts like he did today, he’s really good”, Jarvis said.
Solomon Bozeman paced the Trojans with a game high 26 points, but ULAR was outmatched on the back board to the tune of 42-27.
The Owls return to action at FAU Arena next Thursday against Middle Tennessee at 7:00 p.m.