Game recap: FAU's Final Four dream run ends as San Diego State wins with buzzer-beater

Apr 1, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; San Diego State Aztecs guard Lamont Butler (5) shoots the game winning basket over Florida Atlantic Owls guard Nicholas Boyd (2) during the second half in the semifinals of the Final Four of the 2023 NCAA Tournament at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Final Four, came to a heartbreaking end for Florida Atlantic University, as the San Diego State University Aztecs hit a shot at the buzzer to win after a furious second-half comeback.

Florida Atlantic University rode its dominant regular season into a March Madness birth, then the 9-seeded underdog ran through its opponents in Columbus and Madison Square Garden in New York to arrive at the tournament’s semifinal, which tippped off with the first of two games.

And don’t forget, FAU is joined by another South Florida team in the Final Four. The Miami Hurricanes play the University of Connecticut to get to the championship game. There’s the possibility of an all-Florida matchup for college basketball glory.

But it will be the FAU Owls, led by coach Dusty May, playing the San Diego State University Aztecs in the evening's first Final Four matchup.

5 takeaways: San Diego State stuns FAU basketball at the buzzer in Final Four

FAU posted a 31-3 season record, which included a 20-game winning streak and the Conference USA title.

San Diego State had a 27-6 record including winning the Mountain West conference. In the tournament so far, they've gotten by top-seeded Alabama, Charleston, Furman and Creighton to arrive in Houston with its own hopes for a basketball title.

Follow here for the score, and live updates from Palm Beach Post reporters in Houston as Florida Atlantic takes on SD State.

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FAU crumbles under San Diego State rally

FAU led by as many as 14 points early in the second half but San Diego State did not go away. They closed within 2 points in an energetic run that brought the Aztec faithful into a frenzy midway through the second half.

San Diego State then pummeled FAU on the offensive glass midway, eventually managing to tie the game at 65-65.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

San Diego State briefly ties the game as Final Four foul trouble is a factor

AU leads 67-65 as the game nears regulation.

Foul trouble is beginning to enter the picture: Vladislav Goldin has four fouls while Brandon Weatherspoon and Alijah Martin each have three fouls. The Aztecs are in the single bonus the rest of the way.

San Diego State is crushing FAU on the offensive glass in the second half with an 11-7 overall offensive rebounding advantage.

At the 6-minute mark of the second half, FAU and San Diego State were each shooting 21-of-47 from the field.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

FAU's lead over SDSU starts to dwindle

FAU leads 65-60 with less than 8 minutes in the Final Four.

What was once a 14-point advantage has dissipated for the Owls as San Diego State captured some momentum to pull within 2 points.

Alijah Martin hit a huge 3-pointer to stem the tide. He leads all scorers with 24 points.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

FAU scorer Alijah Martin: Once Dusty May's odd man out. Now he's on pace with all-time greats.

After FAU went farther ahead, San Diego State erodes lead

FAU leads 58-51 inside 12 minutes in the Final Four's first game.

San Diego State has clawed closer with a 9-2 run, including a Matt Bradley 3-pointer.

The Owls slowly built a bigger lead after Alijah Martin was fouled on a 3-pointer. He connected on all three free throws.

A technical foul on SDSU’s Micah Parrish led to two free points for FAU.

Alijah Martin has taken over the scoring with 17 points, including 10 in the second half.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

Florida Atlantic maintains lead, keeps scoring in Final Four

FAU leads San Diego State 49-40 in the early stages of the second half.

Alijah Martin hit his second 3-pointer of the afternoon to extend FAU’s advantage to 46-38. FAU’s Nick Boyd and San Diego State’s Darrion Trammell exchanged 3-pointers to open the second half scoring.

The Owls are limiting turnovers, committing just three through the opening 24 minutes.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

Final Four Halftime: Led by Nick Boyd and Giancarlo Rosado, FAU leads San Diego State 40-33

Nick Boyd has a team-high 9 points but all nine players who've featured have scored as FAU takes lead into the halftime locker room.

Giancarlo Rosado has been productive with 6 points on 3-of-3 shooting in just over 10 minutes in the first half.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

Rosado ready in Final Four: West Palm Beach's Giancarlo Rosado ready to help FAU take home a championship

FAU Owls pull ahead late in first half of Final Four

FAU leads 36-28 as SDSU calls timeout to stem an Owls run.

Bryan Greenlee and Alijah Martin hit 3-pointers out of the media break to give Owls 32-26 lead.

Aguek Arop ends the 6-0 FAU run with a layup, but FAU responds by getting the ball inside to Giancarlo Rosado for field goals on back-to-back possessions.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

Nick Boyd, FAU are on fire from 3

FAU student section brings excitement from South Florida

Final Four tied early: Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State are even

FAU and San Diego State are tied 26-26 with less than 8 minutes left in the first half.

The teams are exchanging the lead with each made basket.

Jalen Gaffney hit a 3-pointer to counter a pair of baskets from SDSU big man Nathan Mensah.

LaMont Butler previously put the Aztecs back on top with a 3-point jump shot after a huge Aztecs block against FAU’s Brandon Weatherspoon.

FAU regained the lead at 19-17 on a pair of Johnell Davis free throws. Brandon Weatherspoon then hit two more on the next possession as SDSU’s Jaedon Leedee picked up his second foul.

Goldin scored first points at the 11-minute mark on a left-handed shot off the glass to tie the game at 17-17.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

FAU rallies back after slow start

FAU trails 16-15 at the under-12 media timeout.

Michael Forrest’s layup off the glass and Nick Boyd’s third 3-pointer extended the Owls’ run to 10-2.

Alijah Martin ended San Diego State’s 14-0 run with a jumper, which Nick Boyd followed with his second 3-pointer for FAU.

Matt Bradley is on fire for San Diego State. He hit a 3-point jumper and layup to extend the Aztecs’ lead. He started 4-of-4 from the field for a game-high 11 points.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

Uptempo start to the Final Four, FAU trails SDSU

FAU trails 8-5 at the first media timeout. Nathan Mensah hit a layup and was fouled in the final action.

Nick Boyd hit a 3-pointer on Owls’ first possession and Johnell Davis scored a running layup for a 5-0 opening run. Matt Bradley hit a pair of 3-pointers put the Aztecs into the lead.

The first FAU turnover came less than two minutes into the game. The Owls have two early turnovers.

— Eric J. Wallace, Palm Beach Post

What time is the FAU vs. San Diego State Final Four game and what TV channel?

The Florida Atlantic University Owls play the San Diego State University Aztecs in the Final Four to determine who plays in the NCAA Men’s Tournament championship game. The winner will play the winner of the other matchup, University Connecticut vs. the University of Miami.

When: Tipoff is 6:09 p.m. Saturday, April 1

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

TV Channel: CBS

At stake: A game for the college basketball championship and a possible matchup of two Florida teams: FAU and Miami.

How to watch the Final Four: Florida Atlantic basketball vs. San Diego State on TV, streaming

What's the latest line for Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State basketball?

San Diego State is a 2.5-point favorite over FAU, according to Tipico, the oddsmaker for USA TODAY. The over-under is 131.5 points. See the expert predictions for this Final Four matchup.

Where is the 2023 Final Four? What to know about NRG Stadium in Houston

Where: NRG Stadium, home of the NFL’s Houston Texans

Capacity: The Final Four seating capacity will be more than 71,000

Ticket prices: There were tickets listed this week for less than $100, but there are “all session” tickets that are over $1,000, though prices dropped after the Elite Eight began.

Who did Florida Atlantic beat to get to the 2023 Final Four?

This was the FAU Owls’ tournament path to the Final Four:

Round 1: FAU stunned Memphis for its first-ever tournament win as Nick Boyd hit a driving layup to seal a 66-65 win in Columbus, Ohio.

Round 2: FAU defeated fellow tournament newcomer Fairleigh Dickinson University convincingly, 78-70 to advance to the Sweet 16.

Sweet 16: FAU completed the biggest NCAA Tournament upset in program history, defeating No. 4 seed Tennessee 62-55 after completing a furious second-half comeback at Madison Square Garden.

Elite Eight: In a nailbiter, FAU hung on to advance with a 79-76 win as Kansas State stayed close at the end, but couldn’t hang on to the ball. Michael Forrest closed the game out by hitting two free throws.

Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Clark Kellogg pick Florida Atlantic to win in the Final Four

Simply put, Charles Barkley likes what is sees in FAU.

“I think the Owls are gonna do it,” Barkley said on the pregame show. "If they get to 65 points, I like the Owls."

FAU and San Diego State basketball rosters in the Final Four

The starting five for the Florida Atlantic University Owls will be Alijah Martin, Johnell Davis, Bryan Greenlee, Nick Boyd (all listed as guards), and center Vlad Goldin.

The San Diego State Aztecs rolling out forward Keshad Johnson, guard Lamont Butler, guard Dareion Trammell, guard Matt Bradley and forward Nathan Mensah.

Here are the rosters for both teams in Saturday’s first Final Four matchup:

Florida Atlantic is led by guards Johnell Davis and Nicholas Boyd, and center Vladislav Golden. Here is FAU’s Final Four roster.

San Diego State’s leading scorer is guard Matt Bradley, the only player on the Aztecs who averages in double-digit points. Here is San Diego State’s Final Four roster.

FAU grad Carrot Top said some strange things about his alma mater

Trails, dirt and not many buildings. Actor-comedian Carrot Top, who went to high school in Cocoa Beach and college at Florida Atlantic University, didn’t have the greatest things to say about where he went to college.

“I think more people are shocked that FAU is in the final for than the fact that I actually went to college, said Scott Thompson, aka “Carrot Top,” to the chuckles of Final Four Show host Rece Davis.

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This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Live updates: FAU basketball score in Final Four vs. San Diego State