With FAU Sweep, FIU Stays Steady In Standings

Osasumwen Osaghae at the free throw line during the Panthers home game against FAU. Dalton Tevlin/PantherNOW

Alex Rivera/Staff Writer

The Panthers completed the sweep of rival FAU as they played their last scheduled regular season game, complete with senior night recognizing Osasumwen Osaghae, Devon Andrews and Trejon Jacob. 

FIU started the home and away series at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center last Wednesday against a 6-4 FAU, who at the time were in the same position as FIU in terms of being within the top four of the conference standings. The game started with both sides pretty well matched, and both teams were slow when it came to scoring. But by the seventh minute when FIU was awarded a free throw, the Panthers began setting a gap between themselves and the Owls. At the end of the first half, FIU was ahead by nine points. 

In the second half, the Panthers would get to a 20-point lead within the first five minutes of the second half. FIU would be able to at one point hold a 24-point lead, and with five minutes to go, the need for consistent scoring wasn’t there, and the Panthers would win the first game 69-50.

Saturday, the Panthers went to Boca Raton to play the road game against their travel partner and looked to keep the momentum in the rivalry on their side. This game like the last, started with the two sides not able to break away with the lead immediately, but by half time, the Panthers were behind 27-39. But as soon as the second half started, FIU was able to chip away at the Owls’ lead. At almost 10 minutes into the second half, it was Trejon Jacob’s layup that tied the game at 49. FIU would eventually get the lead and keep it with less than five minutes to go, the final score being FIU 66-59.

This week the Panthers will be on the road, beginning play this week in Ruston, Louisiana against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Thursday night followed by a trip to Hattiesburg, Mississippi against Southern Miss on Saturday afternoon. Like last week, the Panthers will enter play fourth in the C-USA standings, the major difference being how much less competitive it is with regard to the other teams that were in their position. 

Currently, FIU is tied with Louisiana Tech and Charlotte at eight wins and four losses. Above FIU as well remains North Texas and Western Kentucky. Below, albeit further: FAU, Marshall and Old Dominion. Each of the three having a record of 6-6.

Should FIU win their next two games this week, they would be able to advance to third in the standings.  FIU should get a bit of what they need with the help of North Texas; should North Texas and Rice be able to win their games against Charlotte, it would push the 49ers farther back as to allow the Panther’s more breathing room when it comes to getting the first round by in the C-USA Tournament. 

If the Panthers want more breathing room, this week they would like to see UTSA win their game against Marshall and Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss winning their games against FAU. These outcomes would leave the Panthers at least fourth in the conference. 

This week will be the last week of the scheduled regular season, and on Sunday, February 16th, C-USA will announce the games each team will be playing in C-USA bonus play.  

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