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HomeSportsBasketballNo. 23 FAU not lacking in star power vs. UTSA

No. 23 FAU not lacking in star power vs. UTSA

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Florida Atlantic pulled off a comeback in Thursday’s 86-77 home win over Wichita State, but the No. 23 Owls will look to take early control in Texas when they face UTSA on Sunday afternoon in San Antonio.

FAU’s most recent win transpired in large part to the club’s dynamic backcourt tandem of Alijah Martin and Johnell Davis. Martin scored 16 points and Davis 14 in the second half to turn a 42-31 halftime deficit into a win.

And when it was all over Thursday, the duo had played the role of big-time players making big-time plays in front of two of South Florida’s top pros — courtside guests Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat and captain Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers.

The two superstars surely were entertained.

Martin went 6-for-6 in the second half while Davis totaled 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists overall as the Owls (14-4, 4-1 American Athletic Conference) swooped past the Shockers.

“They’re not here to see myself and the staff,” FAU coach Dusty May said of Butler and Barkov, who took their teams to league championship finals last summer. “They’re here to see these guys.”

The starting backcourt showed off, combining for 30 of the squad’s 55 second-half points and helping the Owls win for the fourth time in five games.

“Much respect to Jimmy,” said Martin, who added nine rebounds, three steals and two assists in 35 minutes. “When we saw him, we just tried to play our brand of basketball and not get carried away trying to do extra stuff.”

Davis was impressed by his team’s second-half charge.

“It just means we’re unstoppable,” Martin said of the fiery final 20 minutes. “The offense is fueled by defense. … But we’re going to need it from everybody.”

After rallying by the Shockers, who allowed 112 points to then-No. 13 Memphis last weekend, the Owls will be facing a second consecutive team in UTSA (7-11, 1-4) that is leaky on the defensive end and yielded 100-plus points its last time out.

On Wednesday on the road, the Roadrunners were hammered 107-78 by Tulsa in a third straight AAC setback.

Despite receiving a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes from reserve guard Jordan Ivy-Curry, UTSA allowed Tulsa to score more than 50 points in each half. It also trailed by as many as 32 points and simply could not match the Golden Hurricane’s hot shooting (59.0 percent).

Tulsa’s 16 3-pointers marked the most allowed by the Roadrunners since Oklahoma drilled 17 in a 105-66 win on Dec. 3, 2020.

The Golden Hurricane’s 107-point output was the largest total against UTSA in a 40-minute game since it lost 109-91 to Marshall on Feb. 6, 2016.

“We’re in a stretch right now where we playing a lot of the top teams and need to find a way to get a couple of wins,” UTSA head coach Steve Henson said earlier this week.

The Roadrunners are 5-4 at home but are winless in two conference contests on their home court.

Ivy-Curry, who has come off the bench in all eight of his games, leads the squad with 17.1 points per game and paced it in scoring six times. He got a late start to the season due to transfer issues.

–Field Level Media

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