Hot-shooting FAU duo buries Toppers

Lucas Aulbach

WKU dropped the first game of its Florida swing Thursday 82-76 to Florida Atlantic.

The Toppers had a strong game offensively but had no answer for FAU’s dynamic duo of senior guard Greg Gantt and freshman guard Stefan Moody.

Gantt (31 points) and Moody (26) combined for 57 points as the Owls shot the lights out – FAU finished shooting 58 percent from the field.

Coach Ray Harper said those numbers said it all about the game.

“The bottom line is, it’s going to be difficult to beat teams if you allow them to shoot 58 percent,” he told WKU Radio after the game.

WKU led for much of a close first half before a late run gave the Owls a 41-34 halftime lead.

Gantt and Moody had combined for 26 points already at that point. The Owls benefited from strong play from the two guards and a weak shooting spell from the Toppers in the second half, eventually taking a 15-point lead with under seven minutes to go.

The Toppers battled back and got within five points of the FAU lead with under a minute to go, but the hole was too great to climb out of.

The loss spoiled a career day from sophomore forward George Fant, who had a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds.

Despite an ugly shooting line – six-of-22 from the field and two-of-13 for three – T.J. Price had 17 points and three rebounds.

Senior point guard Jamal Crook had one of his best nights from the field since returning to the court, scoring nine points with an additional three assists. Junior forward O’Karo Akamune, who started at center for WKU, had two points and five steals.

Fant said it was tough for the Toppers to try to top the big performances of the two FAU guards.

“They’re really special players,” Fant said. “They hit a couple crazy shots. I guess that’s who their team relies on to score, and they produce.”

Harper said he was disappointed that his team couldn’t convert when the game got close.

“Once again we missed some golden opportunities, but Gantt and Moody were too much,” he said.

Thursday was the second consecutive loss for the Toppers after recently winning two in a row. They will be back in action Saturday in Miami against Florida International.

Fant said the Toppers are already thinking about the next game.

“The most you can say about this is we’ve got to get back to practice tomorrow and get ready for FIU,” he said.