MTSU – 67
FAU – 85
BOCA RATON, Fla. – MTSU traveled to Boca Raton to take on the #21 FAU Owls on Thursday night. The Owls are not only an opportunity to beat a ranked opponent, but a chance to take a step in the CUSA standings by taking down the top team.
Both teams started off slow offensively with FAU starting out 0-7 and Middle starting 0-4. Despite the slow start The Raiders were able to jump out to 8-2 and 13-7 leads, but FAU was never going to be out of this one. Johnell Davis and the rest of the Owl bench came in and gave FAU the boost they needed. They continued to tighten their grip throughout the first half in which Middle had an uncharacteristic ten turnovers while having the ball stolen seven times. This uncharacteristic play and a late scoring drought allowed The Owls to build up to a ten point lead before Camryn Weston ended the slide with a jumper to cut it to eight as the half ended. Despite hitting six threes in the first Middle would head into the break down 38-30.
As the second half began, Middle would need to right the ship early but could not as they committed their 11th turnover on the first possession of the half. This resulted in an FAU three and the hole grew deeper. The Raiders were down by 11 but in just a three-minute span MTSU worked to cut the Owl lead back down to three. It did not stay that close for long as FAU extended the lead back out to nine. Everything MTSU was able to do well, it seemed The Owls had an answer. Both teams were shooting over 50% in the second until, similarly to the end of the first half, Middle went cold. A 12-2 run for FAU put Middle behind by 14 with just eight minutes to go. This Middle team is not one that I would describe as lazy, but the basketball they were playing was. The passes were not clean, and the sense of urgency was not there. FAU continued to pour it on until the final buzzer and The Owls had won their 19th game in a row and remained undefeated in CUSA play with a final score of 85-67. A missed opportunity for Middle.
This is what Head Coach, Nick McDevitt, had to say post game via Goblueraiders.com:
“They [FAU] make life tough on you. They really do. They’re good. They’re old. They take care of the ball… We only forced seven turnovers and blocked two shots. We’re usually a lot higher than that in those two categories, so it speaks to how tough they are.
“I didn’t think we were tough enough. I didn’t think we were out there playing soft, but I didn’t think we were tough enough to beat a team like that on the road in this kind of environment with the way they were playing.”
The Blue Raiders’ next game is against FIU, in Miami, at 6:00pm on Saturday.