Sherif Gross-Bullock netted a game-high 19 points and Bryant’s defense locked down No. 10 Florida Atlantic, ending the Owls’ 19-game home winning streak in a 61-52 upset on Saturday night in Boca Raton, Fla.
Playing under new head coach Phil Martelli Jr. after Jared Grasso resigned Monday, the Bulldogs (2-3) trailed by three at halftime but outplayed the Owls (2-1) over the final 20 minutes and frustrated their offense.
Top scorer Gross-Bullock — already with 28- and 27-point games this season — made 4 of 10 3-pointers and added 11 rebounds. Earl Timberlake totaled 13 points and a team-best 12 boards.
Daniel Rivera and Rafael Pinzon scored 12 and 10, respectively, for Bryant, which held a 49-47 rebound edge.
The Owls’ Johnell Davis recorded 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Giancarlo Rosado had 11 points and five boards.
But FAU, which made a Final Four appearance last spring, shot just 26.2 percent (17 of 65) from the floor and made just 5 of 30 (16.7 percent) from long range.
The Owls started fast, leading 11-2 just under five minutes into the meeting. But Bryant — sparked by the long-range shooting of Gross-Bullock — reeled off 11 straight points to put FAU behind in a game for the first time this season.
The home side, however, regrouped slightly in the half’s remainder and held a 29-26 lead over the battling Bulldogs, who got seven points each from Pinzon and Rivera.
Over the first 20 minutes, both squads struggled with the ball. Bryant made 10 of 31 shots (32.3 percent), while FAU connected on just 11 of 35 (31.4 percent) and produced just four assists.
In the second half, Gross-Bullock and Pinzon hit consecutive treys in the first five minutes for a 37-33 lead — the Bulldogs’ largest at the time — and owned a 44-39 edge with 10 minutes to play.
Bryant increased its the lead to 10 points on Timberlake’s layup with just over eight minutes left.
After FAU went without a field goal for over four minutes, Bryant held a 57-49 lead with 2:10 to play.
A layup by Timberlake and free throws by Rivera and Gross-Bullock were enough to seal the shocker.
–Field Level Media
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