Florida Atlantic University's men's basketball is a team that fights. A team that fights for every loose ball, every rebound, and a team fights until the very last buzzer sounds.
On Friday night, the fight in these Owls (32-3) was never more apparent than their 66-65 last-second victory over Memphis in a game that will go down in March Madness history.
The win is another historic feat in a season of so many for the Owls, as it marked their first NCAA Tournament win in school history.
This is only the Owls' second-ever appearance in the big dance, and first since 2002.
The thrilling victory is also FAU's first in a postseason tournament outside of a conference tourney.
With five seconds left, FAU trailed 65-64, and the Owls drew up a play for guard Nick Boyd.
Boyd (pictured) took the inbounds pass in the corner and instantly drove to the rim.
After Vlad Goldin sealed the help defender, Boyd skied to the rim for the layup, putting FAU on top 66-65 with just 2.5 seconds left which gave the Owls the wild win.
FAU is a team where anyone on any given night can step up. On the opening game of March Madness, it was Giancarlo Rosado, going a perfect 6-6 from the field with a game-high 15 points.
The Owls began the game on fire, going on an early 14-2 run to take a 22-13 lead in the first half, and took their first double digit lead with 8:38 to go.
Memphis soon took over, however, and entered halftime with a 35-31 advantage.
The Owls never let the lead get out of hand, even when trailing for most of the second half by as much as seven. Two clutch three-pointers on back-to-back possessions by Davis kept the game within one.
Two consecutive triples by Davis tied the game at 60 apiece with just 3:04 to go. The final three minutes saw wild back and forth action with multiple scores and players giving up themselves all over the floor.
Though the Owls trailed by one with just 19 seconds to go and without the a ball, a steal by Brandon Weatherspoon on the inbound led a scuffle, which led to a jump ball and the Owls possession, setting up the legendary game-winner.
Full game highlights can be seen below:
For the first time ever, FAU is moving on to the Round of 32 as their storybook season is not quite ready for its ending.
"I thought our guys did a great job staying together, staying the course, finding a way to grab enough rebounds," FAU head coach Dusty May said. "They took care of the basketball. Those were the keys to the game against a scrappy, tough, athletic team like Memphis. It was back and forth, but our guys stayed the course, they stayed together, and they believed in each other."
"I'm feeling blessed. I thank God for this moment," Boyd said. "I don't even know how to really describe the moment, right now, it's a lot of emotions. I told Coach in the timeout, I said, 'Coach, I got it'. I don't know why I was feeling that way, but I just said, 'Coach, let me get the ball'. I caught it in the corner. I was going to shoot the three, and he jumped for the shot fake. Vlad had a great seal that allowed me to get to the rim. I just thought about finishing no matter what."
- Boyd's game-winner wasn't his only clutch play of the evening. Trailing by four points and just 0.6 left on the shot clock, a quick inbounds to the redshirt freshman guard led to a three pointer as the shot cluck buzzer hit
- Goldin made the first bucket for FAU in the NCAA tournament off of an assist from future hero Boyd
- Bryan Greenlee knocked down his first and the Owls' first two triples of the night, finishing the game with 10 points, one of the four Owls in double figures
- Davis came alive in the second half, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the final frame
- In a tale as true as time, the Owls won the assist battle (12-11), rebound battle (39-36), and outscored the opposing team's bench (20-13)
FAU is set to take on another Cinderella story on Sunday in the Round of 32. The No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson took down the No. 1 seed Purdue, only the second 16-seed upset in NCAA history, to advance to the next round and become the Owls' next opponent. Game time is 7:45 p.m. in Nationwide Arena.
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