FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) Dunk City has pulled off another surprise.

A decade or so removed from making the Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA Tournament as a No. 15 seed, Florida Gulf Coast made a splash again Saturday night - this time taking down a Florida Atlantic team that made the Final Four last season and was ranked No. 7 in the country this week.

Zach Anderson scored 21 points, Dallion Johnson added 18 and the Eagles beat the Owls 72-68. FAU became the highest-ranked opponent FGCU has beaten in its history; that “Dunk City” crew beat then-No. 8 Georgetown in the first round of the 2013 NCAA tourney.

“We created our luck tonight,” FGCU coach Pat Chambers said. “We had everything going against us tonight ... and we still found a way.”

Cyrus Largie scored 12 and Franco Miller Jr. finished with 10 for FGCU (6-9), which never trailed in the game’s final 34 minutes. The Eagles came into the game as 17-point underdogs and needed overtime to beat NAIA member Florida Memorial last week.

Vladislav Goldin scored 21 points for FAU (10-3), and Johnell Davis added 17 for the Owls - a team that beat then-No. 4 Arizona last weekend.

“What we’ve learned is that our highs are very high and our lows are relatively low,” FAU coach Dusty May said. “And so, back to the drawing board as we head into league play.”

FGCU led by 13 in the first half and by 11 in the second half. The Eagles took the lead with 14:13 left in the opening half on a 3-pointer by Anderson and didn't trail again.

But they had to dig deep late. Goldin made a pair of free throws with 1:26 left to tie it at 68, only to have Johnson answer with a 3 on the next FGCU possession. The Owls had three chances to tie on the next trip down the floor - all 3-point tries, all missing, and it didn't take long for police and security to start figuring out how to block students from storming the court.

It didn't matter. The students got out there anyway, celebrating after FGCU improved to 2-13 all-time against ranked teams since fully joining Division I.

“We're going to have the court storms if we're not careful,” May said. “We're going to have everyone's best, emotional shot coming at us every single game. We have to learn from this.”


Florida Atlantic: The Owls outrebounded FGCU 42-30, but went 4 for 20 from 3-point range and were just 16 for 27 from the foul line. It was also FAU's first true road game of the season - the Owls had five home games and seven neutral-site games entering Saturday.

Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles played host to Top 25 teams twice previously. Butler - then coached by Brad Stevens - was ranked No. 16 when it came into Alico Arena and won 78-66 in 2007, when FGCU was still transitioning to Division I. And the Eagles lost to then-No. 25 Southern California 78-61 in 2021 in the return of Trojans coach Andy Enfield, who led FGCU's “Dunk City” team to the Sweet 16 in 2013.


FAU likely will remain ranked. If it appears in the poll that comes out Monday, that'll be its 10th consecutive time among the AP Top 25 - a streak that will be no worse than the 12th-longest active run in the country.


Florida Atlantic: Host East Carolina on Tuesday, the program's American Athletic Conference debut.

Florida Gulf Coast: Host Jacksonville on Thursday to open Atlantic Sun play.


Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here


AP college basketball: and

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.