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No. 13 Florida Atlantic hands Liberty first loss of season 83-58

Owls connect on more than half of their field goal attempts
Florida Atlantic center Vladislav Goldin (50), guard Bryan Greenlee (4) and forward Tre Carroll (25) react from the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, in Boca Raton, Fla.
Posted at 9:23 PM, Nov 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-30 23:33:10-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Alijah Martin scored 20 points and Vlad Goldin added 18 points and seven rebounds as No. 13 Florida Atlantic cruised past Liberty 83-58 on Thursday night in the opening game of the Field of 68 Tipoff Classic.

The Owls extended a 15-point halftime lead to 29 in the second period and handed Liberty (6-1) its first loss of the season.

Playing at home for the first time since its Nov. 18 upset loss to Bryant, FAU (6-1) overcame a sluggish shooting start by pounding the ball inside — where Liberty had no answer for Goldin and Martin. The duo combined for 24 of the team's 44 first-half points, with only one field goal — Martin's 3-pointer — coming outside the lane.

The Owls' first six field goals came in the paint. FAU didn't drain an outside shot until more than eight minutes in when Bryan Greenlee's 3-pointer found its target.

Having found their range, the points came in bunches. Brandon Weatherspoon's 3-pointer, the Owls' second in a 45-second span, gave FAU its first double-digit lead, 26-15, with a little more than seven minutes remaining in the first half.

All 18 of FAU's first-half field goals either came in the paint or from beyond the 3-point arc. Florida Atlantic ultimately connected on more than half its field goal attempts, including 7 of 14 from behind the arc.

A late 17-2 run by FAU removed all suspense from the final minutes.

Colin Porter paced Liberty with 16 points.