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Greg Gantt takes advantage of a breakaway layup for two of his game-high 24 points against Hofstra. ( photo)


In with the New

Originally published on 1/1/2013

by Alyssa Barbieri

BOCA RATON – Following Saturday’s heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Sun Belt Conference opponent Louisiana-Monroe, Florida Atlantic really needed a victory.

The Owls secured that much-needed victory by holding off Hofstra 61-57 on New Year’s Day at the Burrow, which marked FAU’s third straight against the Pride (3-9).

“We needed a win; a character win; a gutty win,” said Owls coach Mike Jarvis. “We finally got one of those. We just make things so much more difficult on ourselves then they really need to be. But we won, and I think this will be the beginning of something.”

The Owls (7-8) spent most of the first half playing catch-up to Hofstra as the Pride went a couple of runs, including an 11-0 run late in the half. FAU trailed 36-29 at halftime before opening the second half with an 11-2 run.

“To start the game off we had given them too many second chance shots so a big emphasis at halftime was blocking out and going after the ball,” said guard Greg Gantt.

With just over five minutes remaining in the game, Hofstra forward Stephen Nwaukoni was called for a flagrant foul for an elbow to the face of guard Richard Morrow. Morrow made both free throws and on the Owls’ ensuing possession Gantt sunk a 3-pointer to put the Owls up by two points.

Both teams went scoreless in the following 03:22 before Stevie Mejia tied the game at 57-57. Forward Jordan McCoy was fouled on the ensuing possession and made both free throws to give the Owls a two-point cushion. Freshman guard Cavon Baker came up with a key steal for FAU and made one of two free throws to put the Owls up by three points after making a free throw with 14 seconds remaining. FAU was able to hold off the Pride’s 3-point attempt in the final seconds.

“I said to myself I’m going to do everything I can do to communicate with my teammates on this and make sure I don’t give up any offensive rebounds and just focus on doing what I can do,” Gantt said. “The other four guys on the court had the same mindset. We weren’t going to lose this game because of us this time.”

Gantt, who became FAU’s all-time leading scorer on Dec. 27, led the Owls with 24 points. Freshman guard Stefan Moody scored 16 points and added seven rebounds and three assists.

GameBrowser: FAU 61, Hofstra 57

Moving forward: After committing 20 turnovers in their loss to ULM, the Owls cut that number to 9 on Tuesday. ...Stefan Moody scored 16 points, nabbed 7 rebounds and had 3 assists after earning the start despite disappointing outing Saturday - his first game following a 3-game suspension ... Jordan McCoy scored 8 points and added 8 rebounds in another solid game.

Moving backward: Dragan Sekelja was held scoreless, rebound-less and committed a turnover in six minutes of play … Jackson Trapp was held scoreless and committed two turnovers in five minutes of action.

Key stat:
 13 - offensive rebounds by FAU.

Up next: FAU hosts Louisiana-Lafayette in a key Sun Belt Conference game on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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