Golden Panthers drop fourth straight game in road loss to South Alabama

By: Jackson Wolek/ Staff Writer

All season long, the road has been a rough place for the Golden Panthers.

They were hoping to change that trend over the weekend, but it was just more of the same for FIU as they once again fell behind early to South Alabama. The Panthers were unable to mount a comeback in an 86-78 loss Saturday, Jan. 22.

The team struggled to find scoring in the first half as leading scorer of the team Eric Frederick got into foul trouble for the second consecutive game and saw a limited amount of action. With Frederick playing just 17 minutes before fouling out and Dominique Ferguson fouling out with just nine minutes, it hurt the team down low significantly.

This was FIU’s fourth straight loss and they have now fallen to 1-8 on the year away from home.

“We can’t win games with those two fouling out and not being able to play in that certain period of time,” Head Coach Isiah Thomas explained.

The Jaguars outscored FIU 18-6 in the paint in the first 20 minutes and held them to a dismal 30 percent from the field.  There were no major scoring runs from either team, but South Alabama always held the lead and built it up to 13 by the time the buzzer sounded for halftime.

In the second half, The Golden Panthers (8-11, 3-4 SBC) made a valiant effort to dig themselves out of the hole they dug themselves into in the first half and at many points were successful in doing so.

With 10:58 left to go, they were only down by one before South Alabama (8-10, 2-5 SBC) quickly made it a nine-point deficit in just a matter of three minutes. The Panthers would roar back again and eventually take the lead for the first time since going up 2-0 early in the first.  They would lose the lead for the last and final time, as they they committed some costly fouls down the stretch.

It was a tale of two halves for Marvin Roberts, Alex Legion and DeJuan Wright as they would combine for just 14 points in the first half and 45 points in the second.

All three were big parts of the Panthers runs, as well as newcomer to the team Phil Taylor, who made his first appearance in an FIU uniform.

“He helped us out a lot,” Legion said of Taylor’s performance. “He was part of that run where we were able to push the ball and get the comeback.”

Taylor would play eight minutes in the game, due in part to being new to the team and just getting used to the offense. With all the new players who have entered the team this year halfway through the season, FIU has not had the opportunity to practice and play with each other as much as any other Sun Belt teams have.

“Every game we’re just going to learn and just keep on fighting to get a good seed in the conference tournament to give ourselves a chance to win,” Roberts said.

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