HOUSTON (AP) Nick Boyd scored 18 points, Johnell Davis added 14 points and nine rebounds and No. 22 Florida Atlantic extended its winning streak to five games with a 69-56 victory over Rice on Wednesday night.

Boyd scored 11 points in the first half as FAU built a 33-26 halftime lead. Davis and Boyd combined to shoot 10 of 17 from the field.

“Just taking open shots and they went in,” Boyd said. “We’re starting to find our groove a little bit, but I think we are light years away from where we’re going to be really soon.”

Alijah Martin added 14 points and eight rebounds for FAU (16-4, 6-1 American Athletic Conference), which outrebounded Rice 43-34 and held a 36-14 advantage in points in the paint. The Owls shot 44%.

“I feel like we’re playing much better than we did a month ago,” FAU coach Dusty May said. “We had a really productive pre-conference (schedule) where we played at a high level. We just didn’t do it as consistently as we needed to, and we’re still learning how difficult it is every single night getting a great effort from these conference opponents.”

Alem Huseinovic scored 16 points and Mekhi Mason added 13 for Rice (7-12, 1-5). The Owls, who have lost six of their last seven, shot 35%. Max Fiedler had 18 rebounds and eight assists.

Rice coach Scott Pera pointed to the Owls' defensive effort to keep FAU, which averages 84 points per game, to 69.

“Losing stinks,” Pera said. “I am disgusted thoroughly, but I also have some level of hope and encouragement because that was our best defensive effort of the year.”

Rice closed within 33-29 to open the second half, but FAU responded with an 11-2 run to extend its lead to 44-31 lead on a layup by Davis with 16 minutes remaining.

Trailing 51-39 with 10½ minutes remaining, Rice used a 9-2 spurt to cut the lead to five on a jumper by Mason with 6:45 left.

“We had got the looks we wanted; we got to the foul line; we had a chance to keep it close, cut it closer, make it closer and we missed six free throws in the second half,” Pera said. “That makes it hard.”

Rice would get no closer than five, and FAU scored five straight points to increase its lead to 62-52 with 3:12 left on a 3-pointer by Martin.


FAU: The Owls defeated Rice for the sixth time in their last seven matchups. ... FAU avoided another Quad 4 loss improving to 5-1. ... The Owls improved to 3-2 on the road and 11-2 when leading at the half this season.

Rice: The Owls have lost 27 straight against ranked opponents. Rice’s last win over a ranked opponent was Jan. 30, 1999, when the Owls defeated No. 24 TCU 76-69. Rice dropped to 0-3 against ranked opponents this season.


FAU: Hosts North Texas on Sunday.

Rice: Hosts Tulsa on Saturday.


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