Florida Atlantic is moving on to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament after its win over Fairleigh Dickinson in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday—but not without some controversy.
With five seconds left and the outcome no longer in doubt as FAU led 78–70, Owls guard Alijah Martin had the ball with no defending him. He decided to go for a flashy, 360-degree windmill dunk. Although he missed it, the boos began to rain down at Nationwide Arena in what was poised to be a proud moment for Martin and his team. Not only was the attempted dunk viewed as unsportsmanlike, but failing to make the shot led to an awkward finish.
It’s unclear whether Martin apologized, but during the handshake line, FAU coach Dusty May appeared to do so to Fairleigh Dickinson coach Tobin Anderson for his player’s antics.
Also, a member of the FAU staff appeared to jump to celebrate the dunk attempt and then waved goodbye to the Knights. Not only was this a bad look because it was unsportsmanlike, but the fact that the gesture was made toward a No. 16 seed after a relatively close game made the whole sequence even more embarrassing
Naturally, observers on social media didn’t care for Martin’s attempt to show up the Knights or the staffer’s actions. It was just an ugly finish all around for FAU.
FAU advanced to the Sweet 16 and will play Tennessee on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden in New York.