Last year the Owls upset the Bulldogs 61-59, and Tuesday FAU battled the No. 16 Bulldogs down to the wire before falling 75-68. The Owls got $80,000 for each appearance in the Humphrey Coliseum.
That stat line from Tuesday’s game that will haunt the Owls is 7-of-18 (39 percent) from the free-throw line, and it was the one coach Mike Jarvis focused on.
“You have to make free throws. It is ridiculous. If we make free throws, we win tonight. There is no excuse,” Jarvis said.
FAU (4-6) trailed 35-26 at the half but used a 10-2 run to close the gap to 41-39 with 17:30 left in the game, and from that point on it was a back-and-forth battle, as FAU countered the Bulldogs height an inside game by hitting 9-of-20 three-point shots.
FAU took their first lead of the game at 55-54 with 9:16 left on a three-point shot by Pablo Bertone.
The Owls last lead was 60-58 with 6:47 left, but the Owls kept it close and trailed 71-68 with 32 seconds left before the Bulldogs were able to pull away in the final seconds.
Ray Taylor came off the bench to score 20 points to lead FAU. Dee Bost had 22 points to lead the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State (10-1) won its ninth straight game and is now 5-0 versus Sun Belt teams this season.