In a nail-biter that came down to the final minutes, the AU men’s basketball team outlasted the Florida Atlantic University Owls 62-56 in the team’s home opener Nov. 16.
Senior Charles Hinkle dominated for the Eagles (1-2, 0-0 PL), scoring a game-high 27 points, while junior Blake Jolivette chipped in 14. Kore White’s 13 points and eight rebounds led the Owls (1-3, 0-0 Sun Belt).
After a few minutes of back-and-forth action after the tip, AU’s Troy Brewer scored his first points of the game to put the Eagles up 8-4 with 10:12 remaining in the opening half.
Brewer, who was averaging 18 points per game heading into the contest, ended up with five points while battling a toe injury throughout the night.
“There’s no question his toe is clearly bothering him,” AU Head Coach Jeff Jones said.
“I’m not sure if the average fan can see, but that’s painful.”
Hinkle and Tony Wroblicky led the Eagles throughout the first half. Wroblicky pulled down rebounds and swatted shots while playing strong defensively for AU.
Meanwhile Hinkle did it all, as the forward drove to the basket, made shots and distributed to his teammates en route to leading the Eagles to a 9-point halftime lead.
With a second left in the opening half, Jolivette launched a last-minute running 3-pointer that went in as the buzzer sounded to send AU to the locker room up 27-18.
The second half kicked off with a notable increase in the Owls’ intensity. White threw down a thunderous dunk for FAU with 12:31 left on the clock, the first of several as the game action heated up.
AU’s lead was later cut to just four at 47-43 with 3:15 left on the clock. But as he had done all game, Hinkle stepped up and produced for the Eagles, as his 4-point play with two minutes remaining clinched the game for AU.
AU maintained its lead and hit its free throws down the stretch to finish with the 62-56 victory.
“With Troy not being 100 percent, Charles is shouldering some of the burden,” Jones said. “If we can get Blake and some other guys too, that’d help.”
The Eagles will be on the road for a clash with Columbia University Nov. 19, before returning home for a Nov. 22 contest against Quinnipiac University.