Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Northwestern beats FAU Owls by 77-65 in East

As Northwestern and FAU Owls advanced to the NCAA Tournament site in Sacramento, California, Ryan Langborg drew the attention of Northwestern coach Chris Collins while he was playing for Princeton the previous year.

The Wildcats are already reaping the rewards of Langborg’s clutch shooting from March, and they are extremely confident in their Ivy League acquisition.

FAU Owls

In the first round on Friday, ninth-seeded Northwestern defeated No. 8 seed Florida Atlantic 77-65, with Langborg scoring 12 of his career-high 27 points in overtime.

Late in the second half, the injury-ravaged Wildcats gave up a nine-point lead but rallied. With nine seconds remaining, Brooks Barnhizer knotted it with a driving layup.

Northwestern (22-11) will play either 16th-seeded Stetson or the top overall seed UConn on Sunday in Brooklyn during the East Region second round. In its three trips to the NCAA Tournament (all since 2017), the Big Ten program has won a game, although it has never advanced to the Sweet 16.

FAU Owls

After a quiet first half, Boo Buie, the highest scoring player in school history, scored 19 of his 22 points. For Northwestern, which advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row despite playing without injured players Ty Berry (knee) and 7-footer Matthew Nicholson (leg), both of whom are gone for the season, Barnhizer contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Owls (25-9) lost almost every player from their unexpected Final Four run the previous year, but Vlad Goldin led them with 19 points and nine rebounds. This time around, they couldn’t produce the same March madness.

Still, they gave it their best shot.

Johnell Davis’ driving basket with 1:04 remaining, his first points of the second half, gave Florida Atlantic, behind by nine with six and a half minutes remaining, a 58-56 lead.

Just before the buzzer, Davis missed a long, contested 3-pointer, and Barnhizer knotted the game.

In Indiana, May played high school ball for Barnhizer’s father, and the two families have a close relationship.

FAU Owls

Northwestern’s first seven points of the extra frame came from two jumpers and a three-pointer from Langborg. With 1:38 left, Buie made a circus shot and Langborg made another three to give the Wildcats a 70-59 lead. Northwestern supporters then began chanting Langborg’s name.

According to Sportradar, San Diego graduate guard Langborg became just the second player in NCAA Tournament history to score at least 25 points in a game involving two institutions. The other one was Jamal Faulkner, who did it for Alabama in 1994 and Arizona State in 1991.

In three NCAA Tournament games the previous season, Langborg averaged 18.7 points, helping Princeton get to the Sweet 16. He tallied 22 points in a second-round victory over Missouri and the game-winning shot late in a victory over second-seeded Arizona.

In overtime, Northwestern made seven of eight free throws and all five of its field goals.
Although Davis scored 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting in the end, the Owls were defeated by a season-high 21 turnovers and an 18.5% 3-point shooting percentage (5 of 27).
After a replay review, Florida Atlantic rallied late thanks to a flagrant foul called on Wildcats player Nick Martinelli at the 3:21 mark of the second half for inadvertently elbowing Goldin during a scramble close to the hoop.

With 2:44 remaining, Goldin converted both of his free throws to tie the game at 56.

FAU Owls

 

Although Northwestern came into the game rated fifth in the country at 39.4% from long range and FAU was averaging 82.5 points per game, 16th in the nation, the first half was ugly, with the teams combining for 3-of-21 shooting from three-point range.

After 5 and a half minutes in which Northwestern failed to score, a basket at the buzzer by co-AAC player of the year Davis gave Florida Atlantic a 20-19 lead. As one of just three Owls to score in the first half, Davis had 11 points at the intermission. Northwestern shot 21% from the field while FAU shot 33%.