The longest winning streak in men's college basketball belongs to the Florida Atlantic Owls
BOCA RATON — Guess who has the longest men's college basketball winning streak in the nation?
Florida Atlantic outlasted Western Kentucky 70-63 Saturday for its 20th straight win. Earlier in the day, Charleston, which had the nation's longest streak at 20 games, fell to Hofstra, 85-81.
While the No. 21 Owls (21-1, 11-0 C-USA) continued their streak, they also pushed their home record to 13-0. Western Kentucky fell to 11-11, 3-8 in the conference.
FAU head coach Dusty May pointed to a “complete team effort” just as he has after the team's other wins during the streak.
“We did a lot of good things and everyone stepped up, and when you look down this box score, you see why we're as successful as we are, because these guys really play well together,” May said. “We're taking some haymakers from really good teams and hats off to Western Kentucky. They played hard, determined, and we made the plays we needed to down the stretch.”
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FAU now goes on the road to play Alabama-Birmingham (Feb. 2) and Charlotte (Feb. 4). In the meantime, the Owls likely will move up a few notches in the rankings when they come out this week.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday's win:
Owls finding different ways to win
What separates a good team from a great team is finding ways to win in different situations. FAU wasn’t explosive against Western Kentucky, which caused the Hilltoppers to stay in it for most of the game.
The Owls shot 37 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point land. Fortunately for them, WKU wasn’t too great either as they also shot 37 percent from the floor and a measly 15 percent from deep.
May said that the attention the team has been getting as it keeps winning could have been a reason why the Owls didn’t play up to par.
“As we get more attention, as we win, you have a tendency to think ahead and focus on the wrong things, then you get shocked,” May said. “We have to resist temptation to feel good about ourselves and stay hungry and humbled.”
In what ended up being a game of runs, the Owls took advantage of the opportunities given to them in both halves and stifled WKU’s dynamic scorer Dayvion McKnight (16 points) toward the end of the game.
Solid performances from Brandon Weatherspoon, Giancarlo Rosado
As part of the team effort, Weatherspoon and Rosado rose up to the occasion and played significant minutes.
Weatherspoon had 12 crucial first-half points when the rest of the team was struggling. He was 4-for-6 in 3-pointers.
The junior guard said that it was important to stay ready as was waiting for the ball to reach his hands.
“I was trying to make sure that we were together as a group and just not rushing shots, more so letting the game come to us and trying to get the best shot each possession,” he said.
While Rosado’s stat line won’t jump off the page - seven points and five rebounds - he had a literal tall task ahead of him going into this game. He was matched up against WKU’s Jamarion Sharp who stands 7-foot-5.
Playing solid defense, he helped hold Sharp to five points. Rosado said it was important to keep a body on the big man, who collected 12 rebounds.
“I mean, that's really all you gotta do is be physical against him. He’s not really a challenge offensively,” Rosado said. “So you always need to keep someone on him to make sure he don't get below you.”
FAU not celebrating just yet
While all the accolades and records going FAU's way, it would seem like an easy call for celebration. May and the players think otherwise.
“It’s more of a plus with the accomplishments. More of thinking that this will happen when you work and prep everyday,” Rosado said. “Just what happens when you prepare the right way and we just have to keep going.”
Weatherspoon said his mindset is not just the "one game at a time" cliche; it’s more “one possession at a time.”
However, May said if you told him before the season that the Owls would own the longest winning streak in the nation heading into February ... “I would’ve said ‘huh?’ ”
“You never know because winning is hard, and a lot goes into winning," May said. "But, I have as much confidence and belief in these guys as I've ever had in a team. And it’s because of the way they are every single day. It's not like they have to change their behavior or character to rise to a challenge. It's who they are.”
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: FAU Owls defeat Western Kentucky for national-best 20th straight win