Panthers edge rival Owls, look toward Marshall

The Panthers (11-9, 3-2 C-USA) almost saw their 10-point halftime lead turn into a loss, but a group effort offensively helped keep the Owls at bay, defeating intrastate rivals in Florida Atlantic University 66-57, Saturday night.

The meeting was the first time both teams played each other as members of Conference USA.

“We made some big plays when they [FAU] made the run,” Head Coach Anthony Evans said. “Tymell [Murphy], Dennis [Mavin] and Jerome [Frink] did a great job down the stretch.”

Senior forward Tymell Murphy finished the game with 14 points and 14 rebounds, leading to his eighth double-double of the season.

According to Murphy, the thought of the double-double never crosses his mind during the games, though he has been putting in time with another one of the Panthers top players.

“I’m just trying to get every rebound,” Murphy said. “I’ve been going against Rakeem [Buckles] a lot so I just try to use him to motivate myself on the defensive end.”

Redshirt junior guard Dennis Mavin also contributed with 14 points of his own. The former Owl faced his old team for the first time since transferring to FIU.

“It was just a great feeling just to be out there playing against my former team,” Mavin said. “Overall it was just a great team effort by us. Changing some stuff that we messed up in the first half and did in the second half. It was exciting just to be out there playing against my former team.”

The Panthers led the Owls, 34-24, at the half but a scoring flurry by senior guard Pablo Bertone kept the Owls in the game throughout the second.

Not scoring a single point in the first, Bertone scored 19 in the second, including 4-of-6 from behind the arc.

According to Evans, though Bertone’s offense helped give some life to the Owls, the Panthers made sure that each shot was not an easy one.

“I thought they paid extra attention to him,” Evans said. “There wasn’t a time where he caught the ball that someone wasn’t on him. I don’t think Bertone got any clear looks whether Dennis was on him or Tymell.”

Sophomore forward Jerome Frink almost achieved his first double-double of the season, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds. Frink also recorded a season high four steals.

“It was his best game in a long time,” Evans said. “He rebounds sometimes, sometimes he scores but I think he put it all together. He almost had a double-double as well. As long as he continues to do that, then we’ll be successful.”

The Panthers did struggle to maintain possession at key points throughout the game but were thankful when the Owls were unable to capitalize, converting only two points off the Panthers 15 turnovers.

Redshirt senior forward Rakeem Buckles fouled out with just over two minutes left, finishing his night with 12 points and two rebounds.

Even with Buckles out due to foul trouble throughout the game, the teams defense does not change without their 6’7 big man.

“Defensively it never changes, offensively of course,” Evans said. “If he’s not in the game, we try to do a little bit more with Ty and Dennis. Get them to the basket or to get them a touch. Defensively we do the same thing everywhere.”

Though the Owls had the advantage in size, the Panthers were able to outscore them in the paint, 42-22.


The Panthers will now take their two-game conference winning streak on the road as they face Marshall, Thursday.

The Thundering Herd (7-13, 1-4 C-USA) may not look intimidating by their record but rank 46th and 40th in the nation, respectively, in scoring and rebounding.

Marshall is led by Senior forward Elijah Pittman, who leads the team with 21.4 points per game.

As the Panthers have seen the emergence of Freshman guard Jason Boswell, the Thundering Herd have a freshman guard of their own who seems to be making a name for himself.

Kareem Canty is second on the team in scoring with 16.8 points per game.

Pittman is the only returning starter from a 13 win 2012-13 season, including a 6-10 record in C-USA.

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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