FAU forward Jordan McCoy drives to the basket against South Alabama on Thursday. (Owl Access Photo)
After falling behind early, FAU can't catch South Alabama as the Owls lose their Sun Belt Conference opener to the Jaguars 77-66 on Thursday at The Burrow.
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BOCA RATON – The first half of Florida Atlantic’s Sun Belt Conference opener against South Alabama proved to be the difference in the Owls’ 77-66 loss to the Jaguars on Thursday at the Burrow.
The Owls (2-4, 0-1 Sun Belt) seemed to be in control early in the first half. They led 10-6 before the Jaguars went on a 17-2 run that spelled the beginning of the end for FAU.
“It was like all of a sudden guys forgot who their best shooters were,” said Owls coach Mike Jarvis.
“You can’t lose your mental focus and not remember who the other team’s best shooters are. And that’s what happened.”
South Alabama led by as many as 18 points in the first half and held an 11-point halftime lead.
“We had a three-to-four minute span where we just shut down and they went on a run and we never recovered,” said senior guard Greg Gantt. “We didn’t make plays down the stretch defensively. We gave up offensive rebounds, defensive position, open 3’s.”
The Jaguars (3-3, 1-0) dominated the Owls in the paint and from 3-point range in the first half. USA made seven 3-pointers in the first half, but were held to 0-for-2 in the second half.
FAU couldn’t dig themselves out of their first-half deficit. Even during their best moments in the second half, the Owls couldn’t manage to trim the deficit to less than seven points.
“We didn’t click when we took quick shots, turned the ball over off one pass, forcing it inside off the dribble,” Gantt said. “[We’ve got to] limit our turnovers and just utilize our offense, utilize our strength and move the ball.”
Gantt, the Owls' leading scorer this season, scored 29 points, which tied his career-high. Freshman guard Stefan Moody scored 16 points.
GameBrowser: Jaguars 77, Owls 66
- Moving Forward: F Jordan McCoy had 10 rebounds. ... G Greg Gantt tied his career-high with 29 points and was 5-of-8 on 3-pointers. ...G Javier Lacunza made his debut after missing the first five games with an arm injury.
- Moving Backward: FAU had seven shots blocked, including four by Jaguars F Javier Carter. ...G Jackson Trapp was trying to do too much at point guard and had four turnovers. ...Andre Mattison played eight minutes with no shots or rebounds and picked up a foul.
- Key Stat: South Alabama junior guard Xavier Roberson was 5-of-8 from behind the arc and had a career-high 23 points.
- Up Next: FAU plays host to Arkansas State on Saturday at 8 p.m. The Red Wolves lost to FIU 80-61 on Thursday in their Sun Belt Conference opener snapping a four-game winning streak.