WKU Men’s Basketball lose to FAU


Tucker Covey

Junior forward Tyrone Marshall Jr. (24) and fifth year forward Jairus Hamilton (3) speak after a break in the game during the matchup with Charlotte in E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. WKU lost 75-71.

Jake McMahon

WKU Men’s Basketball (11-11, CUSA 3-7 ) lost their fifth straight game to the #21 FAU Owls (21-1, CUSA 11-0) Saturday, Jan. 28th at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena in Boca Raton, Florida. 

“There’s no moral victory,” Head Coach Rick Stansbury said. “I wanted to see us fight, I wanted to see us stay together for 40 minutes. It’s easier said than done but it seems like thats happened in the second half a lot.”

The game marked the first time in 30 years WKU played two ranked opponents in the same season. The 1993 Hilltopper squad faced a ranked New Orleans team twice in their 1992-93 campaign losing both games. However, the 1993 team redeemed the losses, beating New Orleans in the 1993 Sun Belt Conference championship game.

Senior guard Jordan Rawls had a good showing in the loss. Rawls led the team in points with 17 and also had a nice game passing the ball with three assists. 

Sixth year guard Emmanuel Akot and junior Dayvion Mcknight also played very well against the Owls. Akot tallied 16 points and five rebounds while Mcknight had 16 points and six boards. 

Both teams were living by the triple early. FAU and WKU went a combined 5-8 from three to start the game, as the Owls were up 9-6 at the first media timeout. 

After the solid start, both teams struggled to find a flow on offense. Each squad would play a sloppy four minutes as FAU took a 14-13 lead. The stagnant offense continued through the next stretch of play. 

The Owls and Hillltoppers combined for five points in four minutes giving FAU a 17-15 lead. WKU was able to find their stride on offense. 

The Hilltoppers were able to take a late 30-28 lead after a 15-11 run. However, FAU quickly responded. A buzzer beating Owl lay-up capped off a 47 second, 5-0 FAU run, as they took a 35-30 lead into halftime.

WKU came out of the locker room strong. A 6-3 run cut the Hilltopper deficit to two, 38-36, early in the second half. In quick response, FAU went on a two minute, 8-2 run, to go up 46-38. 

WKU struggled to cut down the lead, but continued to stay within striking distance. An even 9-9 run put the Owls up 55-47 with eight minutes left to go. 

WKU put in a valiant comeback effort as an 8-2 Hilltopper run cut the deficit to three, 63-60. However, the Owls proved to be too much. FAU ended the game on a 7-3 run and took the win 70-63.

“I couldn’t have been more proud of our team’s effort,” Stansbury said. “Most importantly they stayed together and kept battling.”

WKU will look to finally get back in the win column against the UTSA Roadrunners Thursday Feb. 2 at E.A. Diddle Arena.      

Sports reporter Jake McMahon can be reached at [email protected].