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November 19, 2013

Basketball Stays Hot

Four players scored in double-figures as the FIU men's basketball team (5-2) extended its winning-streak to five games, defeating the Stetson Hatters, 75-66, on Monday night from Lime Court at U.S. Century Bank Arena. The win-streak is the longest for the program since winning six-straight during the 1999-2000 season. The Panthers have now won eight-straight at home, dating back to last season.

Redshirt senior Raymond Taylor posted a season-high, 18 points, going 6-of-11 from the floor. Redshirt junior Dennis Mavin had a career-high three steals in the first half and finished the game with four, which ties his career-best. Senior Tymell Murphy recorded his 35th-career double-figure scoring performance, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Redshirt senior Rakeem Buckles finished with a career-high eight blocks. The feat also tied the school record in blocks in a game, dating back to 1989 (David Gregg at UMES - January, 3, 1989. Sophomore Jerome Frink posted a season-high 17 points, marking the fifth-consecutive double-figure scoring game for the Jersey City, N.J., native.

The Hatters jumped out to a 10-6 lead before a Mavin jumper was corralled by Murphy, who collected the rebound for the easy layup. In the following Stetson possession, Mavin forced a turnover for a breakaway dunk to tie the game at 10-all. A Frink shot form three-point land gave FIU a five-point lead (15-10) at 13:41 and extended the Panthers' streak to 152-straight games with a successful trey, dating back to Dec. 20, 2008.

FIU went on a 9-point run in just under three minutes to pull ahead, 17-10. After a quick Stetson basket, junior Marco Porcher Jimenez drained a bucket form beyond the arc for a 20-12 score. Back-to-back layups from Murphy and Taylor gave the Panthers a 12-point lead, 24-12, its largest of the half. With 5:25 left in the first half, Mavin broke to the net, juked the defender going towards the basket and dished it to Frink, who threw down the first of his two dunks of the night, giving FIU a 30-21 advantage.

Taylor and Frink led the half for the Panthers, tallying nine points each, with Murphy recording eight. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native went a perfect 3-3 from the paint, while hitting both of his free throws. FIU was 13-of-24 for the half from the floor, going 54.2 percent in the first 20 minutes. FIU shot 90 percent from the line in the first half, a season-high for a half this year.

Stetson went on a 12-2 run to open the second half, pulling ahead 42-39 just shy of the 14-minute mark for the team's second lead of the night. Just over a minute later, Mavin forced a Stetson turnover, which resulted in a basket for Frink to even the score at 42-all with 14:14 to go in the game. Buckles had a pivotal stop with 7:50 remaining to preserve the Panther's 51-46 lead. Mavin followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to push FIU ahead, 57-49. FIU ran away with it, leading by 11, 63-52, just before the three-minute mark. Frink registered his third dunk of the night with 41 seconds to play, putting the Panthers ahead, 71-62.

The Panthers finished with 10 blocks, tying the program's record from 2004 against Ohio University (Dec. 28) and again during the 1998 season against UMES (Jan. 3). The team closed the game shooting 51 percent on 25-of-49 shooting and hitting 76.9 percent from the line. FIU's largest lead came in the first half, when the Panthers led by twelve. They never trailed by more than four points.

The Panthers now head upstate, where they face Bethune-Cookman on Thursday, Nov. 21. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. from Moore Gymnasium.


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