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January 13, 2014

FAU Downs Rice

A career-high 19 points from Marquan Botley and Justin Raffington's fourth straight double-double helped the Florida Atlantic University men's basketball team rally to defeat Rice 73-68 on Saturday.

The game was tied 7-7 early in the first half when Rice (5-10, 0-2 C-USA) when on a 19-4 run to take a 26-11 lead. FAU (5-11, 1-1 C-USA) clawed its way back into striking distance, and went into the halftime break trailing just 30-25.

Pablo Bertone scored the first five points of the second half to tie the game. For the next several minutes, the two teams exchanged baskets, neither side taking a lead larger than three points. Rice shot 48 percent from the floor in the first half, but FAU held their opponents to only one field goal during a stretch of more than 10 minutes in the second stanza. By the time the drought ended, FAU had built a nine-point lead with less than six minutes to go.

It was Texas' version of the Owls turn to fight their way back into contention. Keith Washington hit a layup to cut FAU's lead to one, 65-64 at the 2:41 mark. Bertone nailed a pair of free throws, but Sean Obi's putback cut the margin back down to a single point. Botley and D'Andre Johnson each split a pair of free throws to push the lead back to three.

Max Guercy drew a foul and made a pair from the charity stripe, but Johnson matched him on the other end to keep FAU's lead at three. Rice had the ball and a chance to tie the game with 19 seconds left, but FAU's defensive pressure forced a turnover. Jackson Trapp hit two free throws to provide the final margin.

The victory comes almost a year to the day since FAU's last victory outside of Boca Raton, a 65-62 win at Western Kentucky on January 12, 2013. Raffington's double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) is his fifth on the season. All 14 of Trapp's points came in the second half, while Bertone led all scorers with 20 and tied his career-high with seven assists.

FAU returns home on Thursday, Jan. 16 to host ECU. Game time is set for 7 p.m.


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