Seminoles Avoid Embarrassment, Rally Past Owls

Florida Atlantic entered Saturday’s Orange Bowl Classic contest in Sunrise just 2-8, but from start to finish, it gave Florida State all it wanted and more in a 64-59 FSU victory.

The Owls (2-9) led by as many as 15 in the first half and took a 35-23 lead into the locker room in a game that was delayed nearly an hour due to failures with keeping one of the baskets upright. The first lead of the game for the Seminoles came on a dunk by Malik Beasley that led to a 3-point play with nine minutes to play, giving FSU (8-2) a 47-45 lead.

After FAU’s Marquan Botley’s jumper tied the game on the other end, Devon Bookert scored four straight points to give Florida State a 51-47 lead, but the Owls would not go away, answering with a 9-2 run. With 3:30 to play, a 3-point play by Dwayne Bacon, who finished with a game-high 23 points for FSU, tied the game at 56.

A fast break dunk by Beasley on the ensuing FSU possession put the Seminoles ahead for good. A Bacon jumper padded the lead to 60-56, but Botley answered with a trey with under two minutes to play and the shot clock winding down. Florida Atlantic however, would not score again as FSU sophomore guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes put the contest away with back-to-back baskets.

In addition to a game-high scoring effort, Bacon snatched a game-high 4 steals. Rathan-Mayes added 12 points and a team-high 4 assists while Beasley finished with 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

Botley scored 13 points to lead four Owls in double-figures. Center Ronald Delph and guard Jackson Trapp finished with 12 and 11 points respectively. C.J. Turman chipped in with 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds in the loss.

FSU will have a quick turnaround as it hosts Charleston Southern on Monday afternoon. Florida Atlantic will visit Hofstra on Tuesday night.

Mike Ferguson

About Mike Ferguson

Mike Ferguson is a Bloguin contributor, the editor of Noled Out and a lifetime Florida State sports enthusiast. Mike vividly remembers watching Warrick Dunn run down the sideline in Gainesville in 1993, the "Choke at Doak" in 1994 and Monte Cummings' driving layup to beat #1 Duke in 2002. Mike has worked as a sports reporter in both print and online. For isportsweb in 2013, Mike gave press coverage of Florida State football's run to the 2013 national championship. Mike has been featured on SI.com, FoxSports.com and Yahoo Sports while interviewing major sports stars such as 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. Mike graduated from Florida State University in 2009 with a major in Religion and a minor in Communications. Mike currently resides in Haines City, Florida with his wife Jennifer and daughters Trinity and Greenly. Mike is a full-time reporter at Polk County's newspaper, The Ledger, in Lakeland, Florida. Mike can be followed on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.

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