The FIU men's basketball team (11-9, 6-5 SBC) welcomes first-place Middle Tennessee to U.S. Century Bank Arena this week to begin the first of three-straight home games. The Panthers will host the Blue Raiders (18-4, 10-1 SBC) on Thursday, looking to avenge a loss to them earlier in the year (69-52 on Dec. 29 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.).
The Panthers split a pair of road conference games, defeating Louisiana, 80-75, on Thursday, Jan. 24, and falling to South Alabama, 60-58, on Sunday, Jan. 27. With the split, FIU registered its 11th win overall (the most at this point in the season since the 1999-2000 season) and sixth conference victory (the fifth-most by the Panthers since joining the conference in 1998-1999.
FIU, which has registered a 7-2 record in the month of January, is one of the hottest teams in the Sun Belt having won five of its last seven conference games and enters this Thursday's home match riding a five-game home winning streak.
The Panthers come into this week's action averaging 69.3 points-per-game (No. 4 in the conference) on 42.0 percent shooting (No. 4 in the conference). FIU has converted 33.6 percent from 3-point range (No. 6 in the conference) and 69.8 percent from the free-throw line (No. 3 in the conference). FIU ranks No. 2 in the conference in steals, averaging 9.0 steals-per-game.
FIU is led offensively by junior Tymell Murphy, who is averaging 15.2 points-per-game (No. 4 in the conference) and 7.6 rebounds-per-contest (No. 5 in the conference). The Brooklyn, N.Y., native is the league's leader in shooting percentage (59.7 percent) and is No. 9 nationally. Murphy has scored in double-figures in 12-straight games. Second on the team in scoring is junior Malik Smith, who comes into Thursday's contest averaging 14.5 points-per-game (No. 7 in the conference). The Boston, Mass., native leads the conference in 3-point field goals made (3.0 per game) and has drained 60 treys on the year (No. 8 all-time at FIU). Smith also ranks No. 5 in the conference in free-throw percentage (78.9). Freshman Jerome Frink poured in a pair of double-digit scoring performances last week, including his second 20-point outing of the year (20 points at Louisiana - 1/24). The Jersey City, N.J., native is averaging 10.2 points-per-game (No. 26 in the conference) and 7.3 rebounds-per-contest (No. 6 in the conference). Sophomore Deric Hill enters Thursday ranked No. 8 in the conference in assists-per-game (2.8) and No. 4 in the conference in steals-per-game (1.9).
FIU ATHLETICS LAUNCHES HolyColey.com
The FIU Athletic Media Relations Department, in conjunction with website partner XOS Digital, has launched HolyColey.com, a campaign website designed to promote FIU women's basketball All-America candidate Jerica Coley.
FIU has utilized the Twitter hash tag #HolyColey since the 2010-11 season when Coley garnered her first-career All-America nod as a sophomore. FIU Athletics encourages all Panther fans to use #HolyColey and #FIU in all social media posts.
In support of Coley's All-America campaign, FIU Athletics will distribute 250 HolyColey t-shirts during the FIU women's basketball game versus Florida Atlantic on Feb. 7, 2013, which is set to tip off at 6:00 p.m. at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
HolyColey.com features up-to-date news, statistics, and more on Coley, a junior guard from St. Petersburg, Fla. Additions to the website will include video highlights, photo galleries, and more.
Coley currently leads the nation in scoring with a clip of 24.7 points per game, as she has scored in double-figures in 19 of 20 games this season and in 76 of 86 career contests. The reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year has registered 12, 20-plus point outings and eight, 30-plus point performances in 2012-13.
A 2012 Associated Press All-America selection, Coley ranks second on the FIU career charts for scoring average (20.8 ppg) and her career point total of 1,789 ranks fifth in program history. This season, Coley has been responsible for 40.1 percent of the Panthers' scoring efforts.
The FIU women's basketball team (13-7, 7-4 SBC) returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 31, when the Panthers host league rival Middle Tennessee. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. from U.S. Century Bank Arena.
via FIU Media relations