Men’s Basketball Fall To LA Tech In Key Matchup

Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics

Alex Rivera/Staff Writer

The Panthers entered their 13th conference game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs tied in the conference standings at 8-4 each. The game could make all the difference entering conference bonus play, and raising the stakes on both sides. Ultimately, the effort would not be enough for the Panthers to get the win.

The game started off slow for the Panthers, in under four minutes behind by eight, Coach Jeremy Ballard was forced to call a timeout before the media timeout. A major thorn in the side for FIU early on were the traveling calls and a faltering defense that allowed the Bulldogs open lanes for scoring. But with substitutions, and with the help of Devon Andrews and Antonio Daye Jr., the Panthers were able to score nine unanswered points, then with the help of Osasumwen Osaghae and Trejon Jacob, FIU opened the lead further to14 unanswered points. 

LA Tech would call a timeout that would slow the Panthers’ run of unanswered points, with the Bulldogs ultimately come back from a 21-12 score to 23-23. A major factor contributing to FIU failing to score was a series of missed shots and losing rebounds. In the last minutes of the half, both sides struggled to score, with the half ending with LA Tech ahead 29-28. 

FIU started the second half on a good note, taking a short lead of 30-29. But the missed three-points continued to plague the Panthers, while the Bulldogs were able to score a few. With nine minutes played in the second half, the Panthers trailed 40-43, until Andrews was able to throw a three-pointer to tie the game. At this point, it was still anyone’s game.

In the last ten minutes, FIU would concede a number of fouls, the most notable against Osaghae for taunting, which would translate to four points for the Bulldogs over the course of a minute. Isiah Banks would score two three-pointers late in the second half to put the Panthers ahead 52-50.  

With less than two minutes to go, the Bulldogs got ahead 55-56 and drew a foul. After getting ahead 55-58, the Bulldogs played with Max pressure, not letting FIU get passed the half of the court. Even with 57 seconds in the game, the Panthers were only three points behind at 57-60. As the seconds counted down, the Antonio Daye would make FIU’s final shot for three, which was blocked.

Among the top performers for the night, LA Tech’s Amorie Archibald was able to draw the fouls and score, totaling 17 points. As for FIU, Devon Andrews finished the night with 22 points. Jacob and Andrews would shoot for threes, but those missed attempts would come back to haunt the team as shots that didn’t generate points. 

The trend continues for the two teams: the away side has never won. The Panthers now sit with an 8-5 record and go into Saturday’s game against Southern Miss needing a win to have a chance at getting a higher rank in conference bonus play. The game will be played in Hattiesburg, Mississippi at 3 p.m. Then Sunday, C-USA will announce the schedule for bonus play. 

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