Panthers keep Eagles grounded in nationally televised game

In FIU’s first nationally televised game of the season, the Panthers overcame a late deficit to defeat last season’s sweet-sixteen opponent Florida Gulf Coast University, 72-61.

The Panthers, led by Senior forward Tymell Murphy, withstood the fast paced Eagles. Murphy finished with a game-high 23 points, as well as a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Redshirt senior Rakeem Buckles added his sixth double-double of the season, ending the night with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Murphy and Buckles entered the night’s contest as first and second in Conference USA in total rebounds. “Having two guys who are rebounding the basketball one on the defensive end, gives you stops when you’re playing defense,” Head Coach Anthony Evans said. “Two offensively, it gives you shots and that’s something that we need. That really helps us stay in basketball games and finish basketball games.”

The Eagles struck first but a rebound by Sophomore Jerome Frink got the ball rolling as the Panthers were on the board, 4-2. As both teams showed their speed on offense, the first half showed some physicality as well. Rough play in the paint between Buckles and FGCU’s Filip Cvjeticanin later resulted in a technical to Cvjeticanin.

Midway through the first half, the Eagles would go on a 6-2 run until Redshirt junior Dennis Mavin clamped down on offense after an and-one kept FIU up by five, 17-12.

After one half, the Panthers, leading 30-26, shot 38.5 percent from the field, holding the Eagles to 37.9 percent. FIU improved their game from the free throw line, shooting 8-of-9 from the charity strike.

Video by: Francisco Rivero

After swapping points to start the second half, Freshman Jason Boswell and Junior Marco Porcher-Jimenez hit back-to-back three pointers to extend the Panthers lead and regain momentum with a 44-38 advantage.

The Eagles, however, swung momentum to their  side as both players and fans seemed to suck the life out of the US Century Bank Arena. The Eagles went on a 11-0 run to what looked to be a game changer.

As it seemed to be that all hope was lost, Murphy could be heard on the court clapping and shouting to his teammates just prior to him taking control of the reigns. “I didn’t want anybody to hold their head down,” Murphy said. “I just tried to tell them that it was OK and just clamp down on defense.”

As the Eagles struggled from the free throw line, the Panthers offense took advantage. A layup by Mavin then led to a steal by Murphy, which would lead to a three-point play by the Brooklyn native.

With a 9-0 run in the final three minutes, Mavin and Boswell put the game away with four straight free throws, securing the Panthers win over the Eagles.

The Panthers held “Dunk City” to just three dunks all night, while late game layups kept the thought of a dunk become nonexistent.

The Panthers finished the night shooting 45 percent from the field, including 88 percent from the free throw line. The Eagles were held to just 45 percent shooting and 41.7 from the free throw line.

Outrebounding the Eagles, 72-61, the Panthers sole blemish on the night was their 15 trunovers. In the Panthers last three games, they have committed 59 turnovers.

The Panthers will now have several days to regroup before they are back on the court, to face National Champion Louisville, Dec. 21, on the Lime Court.

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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