Full court pressure and 14 three’s were too much to handle as the Panthers suffered their first home loss of the season, 77-59.
The underdog, Nova Southeastern Sharks gave everything they had in the arsenal as four players reached double figures against the Panthers.
Led by Justin Jeangerard, who finished with 21 points, the sharks shot early and often. The Sharks shot 40 percent from the field, (22-of-55), along with 41 percent from behind the arc, (14-of-34).
“I won’t discredit them because they came in and did a good job,” Head Coach Anthony Evans said. “I’ll give them the credit for coming in and playing a great game, knocking down shots and doing what they were supposed to do in order to win the game.”
For FIU, two Panthers reached the double-digit mark in points, as redshirt senior Rakeem Buckles earned his fifth double-double of the season with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Redshirt junior Dennis Mavin ended the night with 13 points.
The Sharks shot from deep early, which led to a 6-1 run before Buckles got the Panthers into the game. The Panthers were unable to fully regain control of the game, as they only led the game once, courtesy of a free throw by Mavin 40 seconds into the game.
The Sharks defense smothered the Panthers, as they forced 23 turnovers and scored 24 points off them.
At the half, FIU trailed by nine, 36-27. Buckles led the team after 20 minutes with 12 points and six rebounds.
Buckles’ presence was known in the paint, holding the Sharks to just 16 points, compared to 38 by the Panthers. FIU led in the rebounding category, 41 to 31.
Senior Tymell Murphy and Junior Marco Porcher-Jimenez also contributed with nine and eight points respectively.
A group of runs by both teams swung momentum around like a pendulum, until the Panthers were able to cut the Sharks lead to nine with less than four minutes remaining, but a series of missed opportunities and turnovers allowed the Sharks to close out the game on a 10-0 run.
The loss for the Panthers was their first home loss since Feb. 7, 2012.
The Panthers ended the game shooting 42.6 percent from the field, 20-of-47, and only 10 percent from behind the arc, 1-of-10.
The Panthers will have a few days to regroup before their next home game against FloridaGulfCoast, Saturday.