Men’s basketball ground the Falcons in home opener

The Panthers christened their new Lime Court at the US Century Bank Arena with a win over first time opponent and United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II member, Florida College, 85-39.

Four Panthers reached double figures, which have become the norm for the team so far this season.

Redshirt senior Rakeem Buckles led the Panthers once again with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Buckles’ outing became his fifth straight game with double-digit figures.

Buckles has seemed to surpass the expectations of spectators but according to the Miami native, he’s doing what he should be doing.

“I feel I should be doing this,” Buckles said. “I’m 23-years-old and this is my fifth year in college. I have lofty goals for myself and I’m happy where I’m playing but it was expected, let me say that.”

Sophomore forward Jerome Frink finished with 13 points and four rebounds. While senior Tymell Murphy ended his night with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Junior Marco Porcher Jimenez also hit the double figures mark with a season high 12 points of his own.

Aerial drummers and a new cabana brought the fans to the arena, as well as some distractions for the players. A 10-0 run early in the game for Panthers kept the Falcons at bay, before reality hit and the Falcons avoided the early shutout.

The Falcons seemed to also fall trap to the new Lime Court and festivities going on, as both teams showed early season rust, accounting for a combined 31 turnovers, 15 from the Panthers.

When FIU was able to keep control of the ball, the offense stepped on the pedal and never let go. The second half saw the Panthers go on a 22-12 run and a 20-point lead for the team. The team also recorded 51 of their 85 points in the second half.

Size was also key for the Panthers, as big men Buckles and Frink started the game and showed their presence in the paint, holding the Falcons to just 18 points under the basket.

The duo also contributed on the boards and helping the Panthers outrebound the Falcons, 51 to 35.

The Panthers finished the night shooting 55 percent from the court and 38 percent from behind the arc. Defense kept the Falcons in check with just 21 percent shooting, along with 12 percent from the 3-point line, as well as holding the Falcons to just 15 points in the last 20 minutes.

Redshirt senior Raymond Taylor started his first home game for the Panthers but failed to find the bottom of the net early. Taylor scored two points on 1-of-6 shooting, but was able to get back on track after halftime and finish the game with seven points on three for nine shooting.

For Frink, who played last year under former coach Richard Pitino, the change of personnel has been something he’s been getting used to.

“It’s way different from last year,” Frink said. “New coach, new players, I just gotta adjust to my new teammates and my new coach and his rules.”

For both Buckles and Frink, the Panthers are just scratching the surface at the potential this current team has.

“We’re not the team that we should be, I’ll just say that,” Buckles said.

The Panthers now look ahead to Saturday night as they face Texas Southern.

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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