It is not how you start, but how you finish.
The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles started strong. But the Florida Atlantic Owls finished stronger; it was not enough.
The Owls outscored the Golden Eagles 45-36 in the second half. The Golden Eagles were the ones who closed out a 74-72 win.
Cortez Edwards finished with 22 points, six steals, and five assists, Tyree Griffin scored 21 points, and Southern Mississippi held off Florida Atlantic 74-72 on Saturday.
“We have to play better as a whole,” Owls coach Dusty May stated. “We gave up too many baskets in transition, and we couldn’t come up with the loose ball.”
Florida Atlantic’s Aleksandar Zecevic created the last of the game’s eight ties, 69-all with 2:03 to go. The Owls did not score again until Anthony Adger made a layup and free throw to trail 73-72 with four seconds remaining. The Owls fouled LaDavius Draine with 03 to go. He missed the first and made the second for the final margin.
Adger led Florida Atlantic (13-10, 4-6) with 19 points, Xavian Stapleton added 18 points, and Michael Forrest had 11. Adger also had a team-high five assists. Adger made three three-pointers on the afternoon, giving him 68 for the season and tying DeAndre Rice for ninth place in FAU single-season history.
The game was played with discipline. The competition included 23 total fouls, Southern Miss’s only two missed free throws came in the final 29 seconds. The Golden Eagles were 7 of 9 from the line, and FAU made 4 of 5.
Florida Atlantic made 14 of 36 3-pointers (39 percent), and Southern Miss went 7 for 19 (37 percent).
The Golden Eagles (14-9, 6-5) shot 58 percent from the field in winning their third straight conference game.