Men’s basketball seeks to start fast in season opener

FIU Basketball players Burwell (left), Corcoran (middle), and Jacob (right) participate in the three point shooting contest at FIU's Hoopla event on October 25, 2018.

By Xavier Holloway/Asst. Sports Director


The opening week of the men’s basketball regular season has finally arrived, and the Panthers are looking to get their first win of the season against a low-tier Sun Conference opponent in Webber International.

The Warriors will open the 2018-19 campaign without the team’s last season’s leading scorer, Osandai Vaughn, who graduated last season.

The former senior guard averaged 21.3 points-per-game last season and served as the primary playmaker under then first-year head coach Allen Corbin.

In Corbin’s first year as head coach, he led his squad to an 11-14 record overall and a 7-11 record in conference play.

As the second-year head coach starts a new regular season, he will most likely look for sophomore Tommie Luke to fill in for Osandai as the team’s primary playmaker. Luke, a freshman last season, averaged 13.7 points-per-game.

For the Panthers, going into the 2018-19 season with a new head coach in Jeremy Ballard and highly anticipated recruits such as Marcus Burwell, and Antonio Daye, Jr., the optimism within the program is evident from its team practices.

“High intensity is a non-negotiable for us when it comes to practice,” said Ballard. “We try to attack every drill that we do because that carries over into the game. All the guys we’ve brought in, we’ve brought in because they fit what we’re trying to do here”.

The Panthers have players that will provide an immediate impact on the team and more importantly in the games this season. While, providing support for stand-out starters like Brian Beard, Jr. and Trejon Jacob.

Jacob averaged 14.5 points-per-game last season, and Beard led all scorers on the team last season with 16.4 points per game.

Eric Lockett was another stellar guard who provided the Panthers with a third scoring option before he transferred to N.C. State in the summer.

New recruit, Marcus Burwell, will be expected to serve as that third option this season.

Burwell averaged 19.7 points-per-game at Northeastern Junior College before transferring to play at FIU for coach Ballard.

In 32 games last season, the Panthers offense averaged 70.7 points-per-game while giving up an average of 71.2 points-per-game.

As Ballard has recruited more scorers to the team and implemented a high-intensity defense, the new schemes will make it hard on opponents to get a flow going on both sides of the ball.

The Panthers who finished 8th in conference standings last year look to start the season off right with a win over a struggling Sun Conference squad.

The match against Webber International is on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.