BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — Johnell Davis rewarded Dusty May's trust.
Davis scored 28 points, capping it off on a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left, and No. 22 Florida Atlantic held off North Texas 66-63 on Sunday for its sixth consecutive win.
The final play for the Owls ended up being a broken one, and May considered calling timeout on a couple of occasions as the last seconds ticked away. But with the ball in his top scorer's hands, May rolled the dice.
Swish. Win. Again.
“I decided not to call timeout and trust him,” said May, who has coached FAU to 52 wins since the start of last season — the most in Division I, one more than Houston has in that span. “When you've got a potential player of the year on your team, you've got to trust him.”
Vladislav Goldin had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Owls (17-4, 7-1 American Athletic Conference), who led for only 3:16 of the game's 40 minutes. But Davis — who scored more points than anyone has managed against North Texas this season — delivered with the game on the line, from just in front of the FAU bench.
“We're very comfortable,” Davis said of FAU's penchant for late-game heroics; the Owls are now 4-2 in games decided by five points or fewer this season. “We know what we need to do at the end of the day.”
Robert Allen scored 15 for North Texas (12-7, 5-2), while CJ Noland had 14, Jason Edwards and John Buggs III each finished with 12 and Aaron Scott scored 10. The Mean Green were bidding for their first road win in 37 tries against an AP Top 25 team since 1971 — and nearly got it, until Davis hit the shot of the day.
“Tip your cap to him,” North Texas coach Ross Hodge said.
FAU took a pair of one-point leads midway through the second half; both were quickly snuffed out by 3-pointers from Buggs, a beyond-the-arc specialist.
Buggs started the game 4 for 4 from deep, making him 9 for 9 since Dec. 30. He's made four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points in each of his last four outings — and hasn't scored a point other than on a 3 since Dec. 10.
But he missed a wide-open look with about 25 seconds left. And Davis hit the game winner on FAU's ensuing possession.
The Mean Green — who led 28-26 at halftime and led by as many as seven early in the second half — are 11-0 this season when scoring 65 or more points. They’re now 1-7 when scoring 64 or less.
“He'd been 4 for 4 and he's wide-open at the top of the key,” Hodge said of Buggs. “You can't draw up something better than that. I told him, 'Dude, I want you shooting that shot 1,000 out of 1,000 times.”
North Texas: The Mean Green came into the day ranked fourth nationally in points allowed per game at 58.7 and ninth nationally in field-goal percentage defense, 38.%. The Mean Green wasted no time showing off how they do that, holding the Owls scoreless for the game’s first 3:41.
Florida Atlantic: It was the seventh time in the last 10 games that FAU trailed at halftime, and the Owls' 26 points at intermission tied a season low. The Owls are now 2-4 this season in games where they score 30 or fewer points by halftime. When the Owls score more than 30 in the first 20 minutes, they're 15-1.
Another close win, but another unbeaten week will almost certainly keep the Owls in the AP Top 25 for a 14th consecutive week dating back to last season.
North Texas: Hosts UAB on Wednesday.
Florida Atlantic: Hosts Tulsa on Saturday.
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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball