No. 21 FAU returns from perfect trip to face Middle Tennessee

Florida Atlantic continues to approach program milestones as it returns home to face Middle Tennessee on Thursday night in Boca Raton, Fla.The Owls (19-1, 9-0 Conference USA), ranked No. 21 this week after cracking the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in school history last week, have won a program-record 18 consecutive games and are two wins away from matching the program record for victories in a season.After sweeping a three-game road trip that was capped by a 67-59 win at UTEP on Saturday, Florida Atlantic plays back-to-back home games in three days.”Our guys can walk into any environment and match the other team’s toughness, energy and determination,” Florida Atlantic coach Dusty May said.Johnell Davis continued to pace the Owls on Saturday, scoring 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting and going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. Davis (12.7 points per game), Alijah Martin (12.2) and Vladislav Goldin (10.1) have led a balanced scoring effort as the Owls have five players averaging 9.2 or more points.Florida Atlantic played one of its worst games in conference this season against the Miners, getting outrebounded 43-40 and committing a season-worst 20 turnovers. Still, they jumped all over UTEP by scoring the game’s first 12 points and led throughout.”For our guys to go on this road trip in this swing of five games in 11 days and three games in six days, with the tough travel that we have — we’re pretty far away from home — and come away with five wins is a testament to their determination and character more than anything else,” May said.Middle Tennessee (13-7, 6-3) will face Florida Atlantic in the first of two meetings this season. The Blue Raiders are on a four-game winning streak, with their most recent victory coming at Louisiana Tech on Saturday, 68-51. The Thursday contest will be the second game of a three-game road trip.While Florida Atlantic struggled at times in its latest game, Middle Tennessee is coming off its biggest win since early December.