WKU falls to No. 24 FAU after Owls dominate the second half

No. 24 FAU beats WKU 76-62
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 11:21 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The WKU Men’s basketball team had its three game win streak snapped by the 2th ranked Florida Atlantic Owls in Diddle Arena after the Owls dominated the second half, outscoring the Hilltoppers 42-29 on Monday night.

“They scouted us pretty well. They knew what we were going to run. In the second half we kind of just got dry,” sixth year forward Luke Frampton said. “We couldn’t make shots. I felt like they were hitting everything they threw up, but its part of it. Come back in tomorrow and the next day and get ready for our next game.”

Emmanuel Akot was unavailable again as he is still dealing with a head injury he sustained against UAB last Wednesday.

Junior guard Dayvion McKnight led the way with 15 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Jordan Rawls followed with 13 points and four assists. And super senior Luke Frampton finished with 11 points.

The Hilltoppers (11-7, 3-4 C-USA) and the WKU faithful were definitely pumped up for this one. The Owls jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead but once the Hilltoppers got settled they started making it rain in diddle arena, in particular Luke Frampton. He scored 11 of WKU’s first 14 points.

But his momentum was halted when he picked up his second foul and had to sit for the last 11 minutes of the first half.

WKU was fluid on offense and were efficient in its shot selection...shooting 39 percent from the field and making six of 12 threes in the first half, while the owls shot 9 of 27 and 6 of 18 from behind the arc.

The Owls (17-1, 7-0 C-USA) eventually took a 30-29 lead with just over two minutes to play, and held that one-point lead into half time.

But this game was truly a tale of two halves.

The adjustments FAU made during halftime set them up for the rest of the game. FAU shot 54 percent in the second half from the field and 5 of 10 from three, but while they were great offensively they were even better defensively. They were switching defenders so the hilltopper offense could not catch them off balance and that threw off WKU.

The Hilltopper offense became stagnant and started forcing up inefficient shots unlike the first half. WKU shot 3 of 10 from behind the arc.

Florida Atlantic outscored WKU 15-4 in a 10 minute span, taking a full-blown lead of 69-55 with 6:13 on the clock. In the final 13 minutes, WKU only had four made field goals, resulting in the 76-62 loss.

“Everybody’s down right now,” assistant head coach Phil Cunningham said. “Obviously our players and coaches are down, the fans are down, the students are down, we all should be. That’s part of this. It’s a sport, we’re trying to win, we all should be down, starting with us. But like we told our team, we had a bad 15 minutes. It’s tied with 15 minutes to go in the game. They’re a legit top-25 team… They’re legit. After playing them and studying them, they’re legit top-25. They play so well together and they’re tough and physical, and they’re confident right now. But with 15 minutes to go, we’re tied and we had a bad 15 minutes. We told our guys that we’re not going to let those 15 minutes define what’s happened in the last month, almost a month now. Our guys have been terrific through this process, and let’s be real we had a bad 15 minutes in the second half, particularly offensively, and the game got away from us.”

Once again in a loss, WKU was outrebounded in a big way as the Owls had a 45-23 advantage on the boards. Not only that, they beat the Hilltoppers in their own game in getting to the free throw line, shooting 19-26 while WKU went 9-13.