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No. 17 Florida Atlantic downs ECU in AAC debut


Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin each netted 20 points, Vladislav Goldin added 11 points and 11 rebounds and No. 17 Florida Atlantic debuted in the American Athletic Conference with a 79-64 win over East Carolina on Tuesday night in Boca Raton, Fla.

Davis and Martin each made 7 of 13 shots for the Owls (11-3, 1-0 AAC). Davis also had six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Martin sank 4 of 8 from long range and had five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Bryan Greenlee added 13 points for Florida Atlantic, which produced a 15-2 edge in fastbreak points.

For the Pirates (7-7, 0-1), Brandon Johnson had 15 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Quentin Diboundje scored 13, and RJ Felton had 12 points and five rebounds.

After being upset 72-68 on a cross-state trip to Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday, the Owls got five points right away from Davis, but the Pirates countered with the same amount from Felton.

The Pirates grabbed a 7-5 lead on Johnson’s two free throws and held a steady advantage by not committing their first turnover until 6:01 while making their first four shots from long range.

Giancarlo Rosado’s strong move to the hoop and layup with 3:23 left in the half put Florida Atlantic ahead 33-23 to cap an 8-0 run.

However, a jumper in the lane by Bobby Pettiford Jr. — a Kansas transfer — left the Pirates with a 36-35 halftime lead.

East Carolina shot 13-for-24 (54.2 percent) in the first half, while the were 14-for-30 (46.7 percent) and went the last three minutes without a field goal.

Florida Atlantic started the second half strong like the first, and Nick Boyd’s 3-pointer from the right corner gave the home side a 52-45 lead with 12:28 to go, the Owls’ biggest edge to that point.

Trailing by four points, the Pirates endured a tough loss when Diboundje rolled his left ankle on a drive to the hoop and left the game for good with 5:31 remaining.

Greenlee’s trey from the right wing and Goldin’s layup pushed the margin 71-63 with 3:15 left, forcing an East Carolina timeout.

The Owls went on a complete 14-0 run, securing their fourth win in the past five games. The Pirates took their fourth defeat in five games.

–Field Level Media

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