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Owls return to South Florida after improbable run to Final Four

'We'll be back next year:' Dusty May, players reflect on loss, look to future
FAU Owls head coach Dusty May speaks to WPTV after returning from Final Four, April 2, 2023
Posted at 10:57 AM, Apr 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-02 20:57:28-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The Florida Atlantic men's basketball team returned home Sunday after coming up short in the Final Four.

The Owls arrived at Palm Beach International Airport about 3:15 p.m. before returning to the Boca Raton campus, where they received a warm welcome from fans who were there to greet the players and coaches as they stepped off the team bus outside the Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena.

"Unbelievable support in Texas," head coach Dusty May said of the fans who traveled to Houston for the school's first-ever Final Four appearance.

WATCH: Dusty May thanks fans for support

Dusty May after Final Four: 'Unbelievable support in Texas'

FAU's record-setting season came to an end Saturday night at NRG Stadium after San Diego State's Lamont Butler hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer in a 72-71 victory for the Aztecs.

San Diego State Aztecs guard Lamont Butler scores game-winning basket to beat Florida Atlantic Owls in Final Four, April 1, 2023
San Diego State guard Lamont Butler scores the game-winning basket against Florida Atlantic in a Final Four game in the NCAA tournament Saturday, April 1, 2023, in Houston.

Although the Owls failed to extend their season for one more night, the improbable run through the NCAA tournament to the Final Four was arguably one of the greatest achievements in the history of FAU athletics.

FAU's 20-game winning streak this season was a school record and the longest of any team in the nation.

The Owls were ranked in the Associated Press top 25 poll for the first time in school history.

Not only did they set the school record for total victories in a season, but the team's 35-4 record remains the nation's best.

The Owls hadn't won a national postseason tournament game in school history before this year.

FAU heads into the offseason with a sense of relief, knowing that May will stay at the school after building a program that can achieve at the highest level. That should serve the Owls well as they transition to the American Athletic Conference.

Asked what's next for FAU, May said, "Build for next year and run it back."

Nick Boyd, who had 12 points and three rebounds against the Aztecs, seemed to echo that sentiment.

WATCH: Nick Boyd on Final Four loss: 'We'll be back next year'

Nick Boyd on Final Four loss: 'We'll be back next year'

"We'll be back next year," he said. "I mean, sometimes you gotta take some losses to get some wins, so this will be good for us."