Saturday in the Sun Belt
FLORIDA ATLANTIC 88, ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK 71
In Boca Raton, the streaking FAU Owls won their seventh straight game, beating UALR before a nationwide audience on ESPN2. It’s the first seven game winning streak for the Owls since the 1991-92 season.
FAU (15-6. 7-0 SBC) spotted UALR a 6-0 lead and then dominated the rest of the way. The Owls outrebounded the Trojans 42-27, shot 50% from the field and had 21 assists against only five turnovers.
Sophomore Kore White led the way for FAU with 22 points and 11 rebounds, pacing five Owls in double figures. UALR stayed within striking distance for a good part of the game, thanks to a great shooting performance from Solomon Bozeman, who scored 26 points on 8-12 shooting. Bozeman had five of UALR’s 8 three pointers.
The two teams combined for 46 fouls and 65 free throws. UALR (12-10, 4-3) saw its four game winning streak snapped.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE 59, DENVER 49
The Western Division leading Pioneers saw their eight game winning streak snapped in Murfreesboro Saturday night, falling to the Blue Raiders.
Denver (10-10, 6-1) led by two at halftime, 23-21 after holding the Raiders to 23% first half shooting. But MTSU (9-11, 4-3) shot 50% in the second half and forced the normally sure-handed Pioneers into 20 turnovers on the night to pick up the victory.
Jason Jones scored 21 points and added 7 rebounds to pace the Blue Raiders. James Washington added 13 points. Denver was led by Chase Hallam with 17 points. In addition to forcing 20 turnovers, the Blue Raiders dominated the boards, outrebounding Denver 32-22.
NORTH TEXAS 83, ARKANSAS STATE 64
In Denton, Dominique Johnson scored a career-high 21 points to pace four players in double figures as North Texas moved to within one game of first place in the West with the win over ASU before a crowd of nearly 5000 at the Super Pit.
Johnson hit 7-8 field goals, including a perfect 5-5 from three point range. George Odufuwa had a double double with 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Mean Green (16-4, 5-2).
It was the second straight poor shooting night for Arkansas State (10-12, 4-4), who shot 36% from the field after shooting just 33% in their loss to Denver on Thursday. Rashad Allison had 12 points to lead the Red Wolves. It was the only double figure performance in the two games for ASU. The Red Wolves were just 2-20 from three point range.
WESTERN KENTUCKY 77, TROY 58
In Bowling Green, Western Kentucky got revenge from a loss to Troy last week, by dominating the Trojans at E. A. Diddle Arena. Sergio Kerusch had his second consecutive 20 point performance and posted a double double with 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Hilltoppers (7-11, 2-4). Steffphon Pettigrew also added a double double with 12 ponts and 10 rebounds. The Trojans (4-15, 2-5) shot just 32 percent from the field. They were led by Vernon Taylor’s 20 points. Troy was just 8-34 from three point range.
SOUTH ALABAMA 86, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 78
Augustine Rubit had 24 points and 11 rebounds to help lead USA to the win in Mobile. Martino Brock added 19 points for the Jaguars (8-10, 2-5), who handed FIU their fourth straight loss.
Alex Legion had 23 points and Marvin Robers had 21 in a losing effort for the Golden Panthers (8-11, 3-4), who lost despite holding USA to 4-20 from three point range. But a cold shooting first half proved to be the downfall for Isiah Thomas’ club.
The two teams combined to shoot 69 free throws, as 51 fouls were called in the game. Four players fouled out in the game, three of them from FIU.