Evans ready to lead Panthers forward

Panthers Head Coach Anthony Evans’ first year at FIU comes to shape with the release of the men’s basketball schedule. The Panthers will face off against 11 teams that finished last year in the NCAA tournament.

The most formidable opponent on the Panthers schedule, the National Champion Louisville Cardinals, will visit the new Lime Court at the U.S Century Bank Arena for a matchup on Dec. 21.

Evans, a Brooklyn native, has great respect for the Cardinals’ leading man and doesn’t take the game lightly.

“It’s an honor to compete against them,” Evans said. “Rick Pitino is someone who I’ve watched throughout my career, obviously growing up he’s from New York, he’s someone who’s been very successful with pressure defenses. I think a lot of people try to model that. I did as well. It’s an honor to play against them, to compete against him. He’s a hall of fame coach and it’ll be good for us all around.”

The Panthers will start the season at the four-team Kennesaw State Tournament from Nov. 8 to Nov. 12 in Georgia, which will pit the Panthers against Eastern Kentucky, Youngstown State, Kennesaw State and Warren Wilson.

FIU’s first three home games will pit them against Florida College, Texas Southern and Stetson, Nov. 14, Nov. 16 and Nov. 18, respectively.

The Panthers will be back on the road against South Carolina, on Nov. 24, for the second time in the program’s history. The Gamecocks are coached by FIU alum Frank Martin.

Despite facing the National Champion and the infamous Dunk City team in Florida Gulf Coast University, senior forward Tymell Murphy weighs each game equally.

“I’m focused on every game the same,” Murphy said. “As much as I’m looking forward to Louisville and as much as I’m looking forward to Texas Southern and Kennesaw State, I’m looking forward to every single game the same way and that’s just to win. I think I’m looking forward to every single game on the schedule the same way.”

In December the Panthers will play teams who were in the national spotlight last season: the FGCU Eagles on Dec. 7, who were the Cinderella story of the tournament, exceeded expectations and made it to the Sweet Sixteen; the Cardinals, the first time FIU will host a national champion, on Dec. 21; and at Georgetown, who were upset by FGCU in the second round of the South Regional last year, on Dec. 28.

“We chose to pick South Carolina and Georgetown,” Evans said. “I want the team to be prepared when we go into conference play and that’s part of the preparation.”

Two months into the season will have passed before the Panthers first Conference USA home game on Jan. 16, against Old Dominion, but Evans feels the long wait before their first conference game should help.

“I think it’s good. I don’t know so much of an advantage or disadvantage, but I think it’s good,” Evans said. “It gives you time to kind of build-on chemistry. The guys get used to the system and all of that stuff before we go into conference play.”

FIU will also take on in-state and conference rivals FAU at home Jan. 25, as well as their season closer Mar. 6 in Boca Raton.

About the Author

Patrick Chalvire
: Radio Host for Panther Sports Talk Live. Assistant Sports Director for The Beacon. Majoring in Communication Arts. Sports fan and aspiring anchor.

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