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Florida Gulf Coast knocks off No. 7 Florida Atlantic

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Dallion Johnson sank the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:12 remaining as host Florida Gulf Coast knocked off No. 7 Florida Atlantic 72-68 Saturday night in Fort Myers, Fla.

The Eagles (6-9) hosted a Top 10 team for the first time in school history and led most of the way. They allowed the Owls to tie the game twice in the final 4:46 before Johnson sank the clutch trey from the left side over Jalen Gaffney following a timeout.

After Johnson’s triple, Florida Atlantic (10-3) got two offensive rebounds on its next trip and Johnell Davis missed a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left. Franco Miller Jr. hit one of two free throws with 16 seconds left, but Florida Gulf Coast got the offensive rebound.

Following a traveling violation by the Eagles’ Rahmir Barno with 13 seconds left, Alijah Martin missed a trey for the Owls and Miller secured the defensive rebound with five seconds left.

Zach Anderson scored a season-best 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Eagles overcome getting outrebounded 42-30. He added two blocks and two steals. Johnson scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, Cyrus Largie contributed 12 and Miller chipped in 10 as the Eagles shot 48.3 percent.

Coming off a one-point win over Arizona in double-overtime last week, the Owls faced an uphill climb most of the night and nearly erased a 13-point deficit they faced near the end of the first half.

Vladislav Goldin scored 21 points for Florida Atlantic, but he also missed five free throws as the Owls shot 59.3 percent (16-of-27) at the line. Davis added 17 points, but Martin was held to eight on 3-of-14 shooting as the Owls shot 41.4 percent.

Florida Gulf Coast took a 16-10 lead on a jumper by Largie with 12:56 left, and Anderson’s 3-point play off a Florida Atlantic turnover made it 26-18 with eight minutes left. Johnson’s basket off another turnover staked the Eagles to a 32-23 lead with 4:29 left, and the Eagles took a 39-30 advantage at halftime after leading 39-26 late in the stanza.

Davis scored eight straight points for Florida Atlantic to cut its deficit to 48-43 with 12:41 left, but Anderson’s jumper pushed the lead to 54-45 with 10:39 to go.

Gaffney’s layup capped a 9-0 run that forged a 62-62 tie with 4:46 left, and two free throws by Goldin tied it at 68 with 87 seconds left.

–Field Level Media

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