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.