Game recap: Florida Atlantic basketball overwhelms Tennessee to reach Elite Eight

·8 min read

Your eyes do not deceive you: Florida Atlantic basketball played in Madison Square Garden for a place in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

The No. 9 seed Owls (33-3) faced No. 4 seed Tennessee (25-10) in Thursday's Sweet Sixteen matchup in New York City. Tip-off was scheduled for 9 p.m. on TBS.

Florida Atlantic added to the most accomplished season in program history by defeating Memphis and tournament Cinderella Fairleigh Dickinson in the first two rounds.

Sophomore Johnell Davis entered Thursday fresh off a historic performance: Davis scored 29 points with 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals, the first such performance in the NCAA Tournament since steals became an official stat in 1986.

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The Owls competed in their first Sweet Sixteen in the program's second NCAA Tournament appearance.

Tennessee also entered with significant momentum after throttling No. 5 seed Duke 65-52 in the second round. The Vols defeated No. 13 seed Louisiana 58-55 in the first round.

The Vols were seeking the second Elite Eight appearance in program history. Tennessee entered 1-7 all-time in the Sweet Sixteen, the lone win coming against Ohio State in 2010 under former head coach Bruce Pearl.

Florida Atlantic University head coach Dusty May is seen before a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game between Tennessee and FAU in Madison Square Garden, Thursday, March 23, 2023.
Florida Atlantic University head coach Dusty May is seen before a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game between Tennessee and FAU in Madison Square Garden, Thursday, March 23, 2023.

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11:38 p.m. | FAU pulls off the stunner over Tennessee

The Florida Atlantic basketball team is heading to the Elite Eight.

FAU basketball defeated Tennessee 62-55 on Thursday in Madison Square Garden to punch a ticket to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.

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11:35 p.m. | FAU nearing Elite Eight

FAU is close to pulling off the upset against Tennessee in Madison Square Garden.

The Owls lead 59-50 with 1:21 left to play.

11:28 p.m. | FAU on huge run against Tennessee

FAU built a 10-point advantage with a 20-4 run over the middle portion of the second half.

Olivier Nkamhoua ended the run with a jumper for his first points of the game. Nkamhoua had 27 points in the Round of 32 against Duke.

FAU leads Tennessee 55-50 with 3:16 remaining in the game.

11:20 p.m. | FAU leads Tennessee late in MSG

FAU holds a 49-41 lead over Tennessee at the under-8 media timeout.

Uros Plavsic was given a retroactive flagrant against Vladislav Goldin before the media timeout. Goldin hit one free throw and FAU retained possession.

11:05 p.m. | FAU's Michael Forrest heating up

FAU's all-time leading 3-point shooter is heating up in Madison Square Garden.

Michael Forrest hit back-to-back 3-pointers to vault the Owls into the lead with less than 10 minutes remaining against Tennessee. He has three 3-pointers on the night.

FAU is on a 15-2 run and leads Tennessee 48-41 with less than 8 minutes to play.

11 p.m. | FAU hanging around with Tennessee

Tennessee has maintained a lead for all but a couple minutes of this game but the Owls are not going away.

FAU is outrebounding Tennessee with nine offensive rebounds to Tennessee's eight. Overall, the Owls are outrebounding the Vols 30-23.

Tennessee leads FAU 39-35 at the under-12 media timeout.

10:52 p.m. | FAU basketball off to bright start

Johnell Davis and Vlad Goldin hit early buckets in the second half. Davis had just 2 points and Goldin was held scoreless in the first half.

Goldin then drew a charge against Plavsic to force Tennessee's third turnover of the game.

Santiago Vescovi hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the half for Tennessee, the last of which was answered by a 3-pointer from FAU's Nick Boyd.

Tennessee leads FAU 33-29 at the under-16 media timeout.

10:43 p.m. | Second half is underway

Florida Atlantic basketball has 20 minutes to make a comeback against the Tennessee Vols, who lead 27-22 at halftime.

Tennessee is 21-4 this season when leading at halftime.

The second half is underway on TBS.

10:30 p.m. | BY THE NUMBERS

Tennessee led for 18 minutes of the first half but is shooting an abysmal 31 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point range.

FAU is struggling from 3-point range, shooting 21 percent, but outscored Tennessee 12-10 in the paint to keep the game close.

The big difference in the game is turnovers: FAU has 9 while Tennessee only has 2.

10:23 p.m. | Halftime: Tennessee leads FAU

Tennessee leads FAU 27-22 at halftime after a poor shooting half from both teams.

Alijah Martin leads FAU with 6 points while Nick Boyd has 5 points and 4 rebounds.

Uros Plavsic leads all scorers with 8 points while Josiah Jordan James has 7 points for Tennessee.

10:15 p.m. | FAU basketball fighting for offense

The Owls are struggling in a massive way, shooting 22.2 percent from 3-point range with nine turnovers.

Despite the struggles, they're fighting to hang around and trailing 25-19 at the under-4 media timeout.

FAU all-time leading 3-point shooter Michael Forrest hit a 3-pointer prior to the commercial. It was his first made 3-pointer in 19 days, a drought dating back to the Owls' regular season finale vs. Louisiana Tech.

10:05 p.m. | Tennessee connecting from downtown, forcing turnovers

Tennessee is controlling FAU on the defensive end of the court as the Owls have nine turnovers, the latest on a Johnell Davis offensive foul. Davis now has two points and two personal fouls.

Uros Plavsic is having plenty of success against the interior of the Owls defense. He has a team-high 8 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

The Vols lead FAU 21-14 at the under-8 timeout. The Owls have been held to multiple three-minute stretches without scoring.

9:54 p.m. | Tennessee connecting from downtown, forcing turnovers

The Vols have connected on three of their first five attempts from 3-point range, the latest by Tyreke Key to open a 13-8 advantage.

FAU has committed five turnovers in the first eight minutes of the game.

Tennessee leads 17-10 at the second media timeout.

9:46 p.m. | Tennessee leads at first media timeout

Tennessee center Uros Plavsic opened the scoring with a layup after backing down FAU center Vlad Goldin in the half court.

FAU guard Alijah Martin answered with a 3-pointer to give the Owls an advantage. Tennessee's Josiah Jordan James then hit a corner 3-pointer to restore the Vols' advantage.

Tennessee appears to like the Plavsic vs. Goldin matchup inside as the Serbian center has taken five shots already, more than the rest of the team combined.

9:37 p.m. | Tip off has arrived in New York City

The moment is here for FAU basketball in the world's most famous arena.

Tennessee leads FAU 7-5 at the first media timeout.

9:19 p.m. | FAU announces starting lineup

Florida Atlantic has announced its starting lineup vs. Tennessee: Guards Alijah Martin, Johnell Davis, Bryan Greenlee and Nick Boyd will surround center Vlad Goldin.

Tennessee will start guards Santiago Vescovi and Jahmai Mashack, forwards Josiah Jordan James and Olivier Nkamhoua with center Uros Plavsic.

9:08 p.m. | FAU vs. Tennessee set for 9:36 p.m. tip

Kansas State defeated Michigan State 98-83 in overtime in a thrilling opening Sweet Sixteen game in Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

FAU and Tennessee's start time has been pushed back to approximately 9:36 p.m. due to the overtime finish.

When is the FAU basketball game?

9 p.m. Thursday, March 23. The game will begin about 30 minutes after the end of Kansas State vs. Michigan State.

Where is Florida Atlantic basketball game being played?

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

What channel is FAU vs. Tennessee on?

TBS (Channel 247 on DirecTV, Channel 139 on Dish)

Where can I watch Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee on streaming?

March Madness Live (TV provider required), Paramount+ (7-day free trial), YouTube TV (2-week free trial), Hulu + Live TV (7-day free trial), Fubo (7-day free trial)

How can I listen to Florida Atlantic vs. Tennessee basketball on radio?

Radio: Fox Sports 640 AM, SiriusXM Channel 201

Online radio: Varsity Network app, Channel 964

What's the latest betting line for FAU vs. Tennessee basketball?

Tennessee is a 5.5-point favorite over FAU, according to Tipico, the oddsmaker for USA TODAY. The over-under is 130.5 points.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: FAU vs. Tennessee score, March Madness basketball game recap