The Rams used an 8-0 run late in the first half to overcome a 22-20 deficit. Birley sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around two free throws by Greene to take a 28-23 lead. FAU could come no closer than four points the rest of the way.
"It was a hard-fought game," said third-year Colorado State coach Dale Layer. "I thought we wore them down in the second half. Our depth paid off." FAU played in the NCAA Tournament a year ago after winning the Atlantic Sun Conference title.
"They are a good basketball team and they play with extreme passion and are well-coached," said Layer of the Owls, who are coached by former UNLV and NBA star Sidney Green.
"I thought our guys are learning how to fight, how to battle." FAU was led by Jeff Cowans and Robert Williams, who each scored 13 points. The Owls are now 1-1. Florida Atlantic faces IPFW in the first game Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Rams' game with Cleveland State at 8 p.m.