Home » Men’s college basketball: Tech falls to conference leader FAU in overtime

Men’s college basketball: Tech falls to conference leader FAU in overtime

by Russell Hedges

Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Louisiana Tech was on the cusp of upsetting the top team in Conference USA on their home court, but the Bulldogs ended up falling in overtime, 90-85, to Florida Atlantic on Saturday afternoon inside Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena.

LA Tech (13-12, 6-8 C-USA) led for the majority of the first half, but FAU (24-2, 14-1 C-USA) clawed back to knot it up at 41-41. In the second half, it was the Owls who sprinted out to a big 15-point lead, but the Bulldogs battled back to even the game at 76-76 to send it to OT.

The ‘Dogs never had the lead though in the extra frame, getting outscored 14-9, in their effort to hand the Owls their first home loss of the season.

LA Tech built an early 17-7 lead, thanks to a 10-0 run that included a pair of deep three-pointers by Keaston Willis who returned to the starting lineup after dealing with a toe injury. That would be their largest lead of the game as the Owls stayed within striking distance.

With the Bulldogs clinging to a 50-49 advantage with 14:37 to go, FAU forced six turnovers and tacked on a dozen second-chance points during a 16-0 run that put the home team ahead, 65-50.

Isaiah Crawford stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer, and then almost single-handedly pulled the Bulldogs out of the deep hole. The forward had a stretch of scoring 13 of the ‘Dogs 18 points, getting the deficit back to a one-possession game with three minutes remaining. 

LA Tech was able to tie it up on an old-fashioned three-point play by Cobe Williams, making it 76-all with 33 seconds left. A defensive stop by the Bulldogs forced overtime, but the Owls quickly made a 5-0 run in OT, establishing a lead they would not surrender. 

The big three of Crawford (season-tying 25 points), Williams (20), and Willis (18) combined for 63 points, going 22-of-39 from the field and 9-of-19 from beyond the arc. The team shot 51.7 percent from the field. 

FAU got a game-high 26 points from Alijah Martin, eight of that coming in overtime. The Owls had the advantage in two statistical categories – 26 second-chance points and 20 made free throws (got the line 10 more times than LA Tech). 

QUOTABLES
Head coach Talvin Hester

“It came down to the little things that kept us from winning the basketball game. A couple of loose balls, a couple of offensive rebounds after having a great defensive possession. I thought we were great defensively all day, but we were not securing rebounds. We have to be better in that area.”

“I am not a moral victory guy, but I feel like in this game we got better. We believed. We followed the plan. If we get rid of just a fewer mistakes.”

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