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No. 17 Florida Atlantic downs ECU in AAC debut

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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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