No. 24 FAU tops W Kentucky 76-62 for first ranked victory

Sports

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Nicholas Boyd had 16 points, Alijah Martin added 15 off the bench and No. 24 Florida Atlantic used a second-half surge to run past Western Kentucky 76-62 on Monday night for its 16th consecutive victory.

Hours after becoming ranked for the first time in school history earlier, the Owls (17-1, 7-0 Conference USA) led by 34-33 at halftime before shooting 54% to break open a close game. Martin’s layup with 7:58 remaining sparked a 7-0 spurt for a 69-55 lead as FAU outscored W. Kentucky (11-7, 3-4) 18-12 over the final 10 minutes. The Hilltoppers never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

Dayvion McKnight had 15 points and Jordan Rawls 13 for W. Kentucky, which had its three-game conference winning streak stopped.

Nick Boyd made 6 of 10 from the field including 3 of 6 from long range. Johnell Davis also came off the bench to add 14 points for the Owls.

FAU made 19 of 26 free throws.

W. Kentucky played again without head coach Rick Stansbury, who has been out because an undisclosed health matter since the Dec. 22 game at South Carolina. Associate head coach Phil Cunningham has led the team in Stansbury’s absence.

BIG PICTURE

The win helped Florida Atlantic keep the nation’s second-longest current win streak intact and helped the Owls take command in the C-USA standings at 7-0.

Western Kentucky lost a chance at sustaining momentum after winning three straight. The Hilltoppers last beat a ranked team in 2018 when they downed No. 15 Wisconsin 83-75 on Dec. 29, 2018, in Bowling Green.

UP NEXT

Florida Atlantic visits UTSA on Thursday night.

Western Kentucky visits Louisiana Tech on Thursday night.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25