By Brett Shweky/Sports Director
With FIU trailing 68-65 in the final moments of the game against Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Feb. 3, junior Brian Beard Jr. led the team to a comeback win by converting two three-point shots in ten seconds. Beard’s clutch three-pointers resulted in the Panthers to defeat the Bulldogs 71-68.
The victory brings FIU’s overall record to (11-13) and conference record to (5-6), while the Bulldogs fall to (14-10) overall and (5-6) in C-USA. With the win, the Panthers are now riding a two-game winning streak, and have secured back-to-back conference wins for the first time since defeating UTSA on Jan. 21, 2016, and UTEP on Jan. 23, 2016.
Panthers’ Head Coach, Anthony Evans, discussed how the team needs to play like this on a more regular basis and needs to string together victories to make a run at the conference tournament.
“We got to be consistent, we need to be consistent with our effort and our execution,” said Evans. “We have to put it together and more games will be won.”
As the fourth quarter’s clock began to expire, the Panthers had a one-point edge against the Bulldogs with a score of 65-64. Louisiana Tech’s Jy’lan Washington snapped the Panthers’ lead, as the Bulldog nailed two free throws to give his team a one-point lead.
The Panthers’ hopes were beginning to dwindle when Beard Jr., who was struggling for most of the game, missed a field goal with 11 seconds remaining on the clock. The Bulldogs’ Oliver Powell hauled in the rebound and was immediately fouled, resulting in him being sent to the free throw line. Powell drained both of his free throws to put LA Tech up 68-65.
The late-game heroics began, as Beard Jr. received the inbound pass, following Powell’s free throws, and drove the length of the court with time expiring. The junior point guard drifted to the right corner of the three-point line and converted a fade-away three to tie the game 68 a piece with three seconds left.
FIU miraculously received the ball back, when LA Tech’s Washington took the inbound pass and stepped out out of bounds with 2.5 seconds remaining. This ultimately, led to Beard Jr. to beat the buzzer and to complete the comeback with a game-winning three-point shot.
Beard Jr. concluded the game by securing his first career double-double with a game-high 19 points and 10 assists. Guard Eric Lockett contributed to the Panthers’ win by adding 15 points, while guard Trejon Jacob added 13 points along with six rebounds.
Next up for the men’s basketball team, the Panthers will travel to Huntington, W. VA., on Feb. 8 to do battle with the (15-8) Marshall Thundering Herd. This will be one of the three upcoming road games for FIU. Tipoff is set for 8 pm.