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FAU basketball winning streak reaches 19 straight as Owls defeat Middle Tennessee State

Jan 26, 2023; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls guard Johnell Davis (1) shoots over Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders guard Camryn Weston (24) during the second half at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 26, 2023; Boca Raton, Florida, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls guard Johnell Davis (1) shoots over Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders guard Camryn Weston (24) during the second half at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

BOCA RATON — The historic run for No. 21 Florida Atlantic continued Thursday night with its 19th straight victory.

The Owls (20-1, 10-0 C-USA) routed Middle Tennessee, 85-67.

FAU remains undefeated at home (12-0) after beating MTSU (13-8, 6-4 C-USA).

FAU head coach Dusty May said that the team once again took an “old school approach” to the game.

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“Like the other 20 games of the year, that was a complete team effort. So many contributions from different people against a great program in Middle Tennessee State. This place was electric,” May said. “We thank the fans and everyone that's coming out to watch these guys and play with a lot of heart and intensity. Very proud to be a member of these guys’ team.”

The Owls will look for their 20th straight win and remain undefeated at home and in conference play when they face Western Kentucky on Saturday.

Here are three takeaways from the win:

The FAU crowd playing a huge part

Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena was booming Thursday as there was a record attendance of 3,082. According to a FAU spokesperson, that beats the record set on Jan. 14 against North Texas of 3,060.

Guard Nick Boyd said that it feels really good to see a packed house at the Burrow along with the success the Owls have been having this season.

“I look over at the bench and smile at them because that's the stuff that we dreamed about,” Boyd said. “In the dorm, we talk about just getting this place packed. I feel like every time it is packed, we bring a show and they love it.”

At multiple points throughout the game, the crowd became a huge factor, influencing how the Owls played and ultimately how poorly the Blue Raiders played towards the end of the game.

FAU’s depth is its identity

May has said that the depth of FAU is more its identity than who’s starting or on the bench. The Owls showed off that aspect tenfold with their bench outscoring MTSU's bench, 52-22.

What helped with that statistic is that leading scorer Johnell Davis recorded 25 points coming off the bench. The sophomore guard contributed in other ways as he had five steals and six rebounds

Even though Davis only scored six points in the second half, other players such as Boyd (13 points), Alijah Martin (13 points), and Bryan Greenlee (11 points) helped cover the slack.

While it may be unusual that the two leading scorers on the team (Davis, Martin) aren’t starters, May said that it’s a luxury when all of his players are on that level.

“There's not anyone that watches us play that doesn't think that they're starting-caliber players. So it's easy when you're looking down the line and you have guys that could start on any team in our league,” May said. “These guys are all sharing that sacrifice. So I do think it makes it easier and it becomes who we are.”

Keeping level-headed during a historic run

As FAU looks to continue making basketball history, May continues stressing how important it is to stay focused on the game ahead instead of relishing the past.

May even said that the winning streak isn’t a constant point of conversation for the team.

“To be honest, we don't talk a lot about it. You're happy as a coach to see players put so much into it and then be rewarded with individual and team success,” May said. “But the beauty of it is, these guys really don't care or think about individual success because we can do something great together.”

Boyd said that he and the rest of the team are following in the footsteps of May’s mindset.

“We really just talk about staying focused and being humble about it. Coach [May] comes in every day ready to work and we feed off that energy,” Boyd said. We don't really talk about what the media is saying, we just come into practice everyday ready to work.”

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: FAU defeats Middle Tennessee for 19th straight college basketball win