The Boca Raton, Florida-based school, which has only competed in Division I for the last 30 years and has only made one previous NCAA Tournament participation, is now one victory away from the Final Four. The Owls utilized a second-half surge led by Michael Forrest to defeat fourth-seeded Tennessee 62-55 in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night. FAU (34-3) will face third-seeded Kansas State in the East Region final on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Photo Cred: ESPN
This was the best season in FAU history. The Owls are becoming one of the greatest stories in sports. Johnell Davis led the Conference USA champs with 15 points, while Forrest finished with 11, including eight in a decisive second-half run that put FAU ahead. The Volunteers (25-11) aimed for their second Elite Eight berth in school history, shot 33%, including 6 of 23 from 3-point range.
Photo Cred: The Washington Post
Josiah-Jordan James and Jonas Aidoo each scored ten points. Barnes has 27 NCAA appearances with four different schools, but he has only made it to the Elite Eight twice and has never made it to the Final Four. The game was moving at Tennessee’s pace and style. The tough Southeastern Conference’s No. 1 defense, according to KenPom stats, was making FAU work hard for shots. The Owls outrebounded the heavier Vols 40-36, with 12 offensive rebounds resulting in 14 second-chance points.