Panthers inch past LA Tech in C-USA bonus play

At the tip-off Osasumwen Osaghae is quick to take the ball for the Panthers. Image by Daniel Torres/PantherNOW

Written by Daniel Torres/Staff Writer

An early noon tip-off saw the Panthers become 2-0 in their conference bonus plays as well as 4-0 counting the other two non-bonus games. On Sunday, March 3, the FIU men’s basketball team defeated Louisiana Tech University (83-76) in Conference USA bonus play. This was a grind it out type game as both teams really had to work hard for the win.

“It took a lot of toughness and grit to win this game,” said Coach Jeremy Ballard in the post-game conference.

It was a big day for point guard Brian Beard Jr. as he reached 1,000 career points for FIU. However, senior was knocked out of the game for  an apparent shoulder injury. He did return to finish the game with 13 points and showed his leadership and toughness as a Panther.

But the biggest player of the day was forward Devon Andrews who finished the game with 21 points.

FIU really had a tough time throughout the first half with LA Tech’s Amorie Archibald who was on fire from the three-point range. Every time the Panthers tried to make a run, Archibald would bring the Bulldogs right back into it. He finished the day leading the Bulldogs with 20 points.

A big deal was the Panthers out rebounding the Bulldogs, who are one of the best rebounding teams in the conference, according to Ballard. There was a great performance by forward Osasumwen Osaghae who contributed with 11 rebounds but also racking in 10 points.

“There’s guys much taller and stronger then Isaiah and Devon but they’re warriors,” said Ballard about the team’s rebound efforts.

The team is currently on a four-game winning streak with plans to continue this run.

The Panthers will play an away game against Marshall University on Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. to continue the C-USA bonus plays. The team will play against North Texas University on university territory on Saturday, March 9

“It’s going to be interesting, they’re playing their best ball right now and so are we,” said Ballard.

Panthers look to improve their 18-11 season record while currently sitting in fourth place in C-USA.

“Nobody is being selfish, everybody is moving the ball around and not focused on scoring,” said Andrews. “When we play like that we’re just going to go on a run.”

Featured image by Daniel Torres/PantherNOW

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