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Feb 2, 2024 8:13 am

Johnell Davis, No. 20 FAU look to topple Tulsa

Florida Atlantic coach Dusty May is sure of one point through 21 games: Trust your star player.

When his 20th-ranked Owls host Tulsa on Saturday evening in Boca Raton, Fla., May might find himself looking to that star — guard Johnell Davis — to win again with flair when the game is on the line.

Davis showed that Sunday in a 66-63 victory over North Texas. He displayed the do-everything skills that make him the top player for FAU (17-4, 7-1 American Athletic Conference), which has won six games in a row and is tied atop the conference standings with Charlotte and South Florida.

With the game tied at 63, Davis snared the rebound with 19 seconds left and dribbled down for the last shot. He let the game clock wind down and leaned in on a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

“Look, it’s no secret, a lot of what we’re trying to do is get him in space to his left hand,” May said of Davis, who tops the Owls with an average of 18.6 points to go with 6.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists. “I like having the ball in his hands late in the game, let’s just leave it at that.”

Added Davis of the leaner, “I do that a lot in practice, but it never goes in. It went in this time.”

Davis is one of the 20 candidates on the Wooden Award late-season list.

In addition to the last-second dramatics against North Texas, Davis sent another game into overtime after being fouled on a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left. He sank all three shots from the foul line in a 112-103 win over UTSA on Jan. 21.

“Five seconds, two seconds, 10 seconds — we have a high level of trust for this guy,” May said of Davis, who finished with 34 points vs. the Roadrunners.

Tulsa (12-8, 3-5) pulled off an impressive comeback on Wednesday night against Wichita State, climbing out of a 15-point first-half hole with a 79-68 win.

Isaiah Barnes’ 3-pointer and PJ Haggerty’s six foul shots in a row accounted for the final nine points in the Golden Hurricane’s third win in four games.

Senior Cobe Williams had 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting as Tulsa went on a 15-2 run over the final 3:54.

While Haggerty went just 4-for-13 from the field, he made all 14 tries from the foul line in his 23-point showing. He also added six rebounds and four assists.

“I don’t look at my stats, I just play the game; whatever I need to do to win is what I do,” said Haggerty, a TCU transfer. “I try not to pay attention to it. … I just try to block it out and just play basketball.”

Haggerty has been named the ACC’s Freshman of the Week eight times this season, including this past week. He ranks second in the conference in scoring at an average of 19.5 points per game, one spot ahead of Davis (18.6).

–Field Level Media

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