The FIU men's basketball team (16-13, 11-9 SBC) closed out the 2012-2013 regular season with a 77-60 loss at Florida Atlantic (14-17, 9-11 SBC) on Saturday night at FAU Arena.
FIU was led by Malik Smith, who registered 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the floor. The Boston, Mass., native drained four 3-pointers while grabbing three boards. Also scoring in double-figures was junior Tymell Murphy, who posted 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting from the floor and 4-of-6 shooting from the free-throw line. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native recorded two blocks and grabbed five rebounds on the night. Senior Tola Akomolafe also grabbed five rebounds to go along with nine points.
The Panthers finished the night shooting 37.0 percent from the floor (20-of-54) and converted 5-of-19 from 3-point range (26.3 percent). Florida Atlantic out-scored FIU in the paint, 40-30, while shooting 50.0 percent for the game (30-of-60). The Owls were led by Stefan Moody, who notched 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting.
Despite holding a 31-30 advantage at the half, FIU was out-scored 47-29 in the final stanza, resulting in the 17-point loss.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak as the Panthers finished the 2012-2013 regular season with a 16-13 record and a league mark of 11-9. The nine league victories are the most conference wins since FIU joined the Sun Belt Conference in 1998-1999.
FIU will next head to Hot Springs, Ark., to take part in the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament (March 8-11). The Panthers, which clinched the No. 4 seed, will play the ULAR Trojans on Saturday, March 9. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET. Check back on FIUSports.com for the official seedings announcement and tournament information.
FIU Women Defeat Rival Florida Atlantic, 68-65, in Regular Season Finale
Junior Marita Davydova posted a double-double and junior Jerica Coley netted 29 points, as the FIU women's basketball team defeated Sun Belt Conference rival Florida Atlantic, 68-65, on the road Saturday afternoon at FAU Arena.
With the victory, the Panthers end the regular season with an overall record of 18-11 and a conference mark of 12-8 SBC. The 12 SBC wins are the second-most in program history.
FIU will next travel to Hot Springs, Ark., for the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Women's Basketball Championship, held March 8-11 at Summit Arena. The official tournament bracket and seedings are expected to be announced on Sunday, March 3.
In the first half, FIU led by as many as 10 points, going ahead 25-15 at the 7:03 mark. FAU stormed back to take a 26-25 lead with 3:05 left on the clock, but a Coley trey and a bucket from junior Arielle Durant put the Panthers back on top for the remainder of the half. FIU went into the halftime break with a narrow 34-33 advantage.
The second half saw five tie scores and a pair of lead changes, as FAU took its largest lead of the game at 51-46 with 13:01 left to play. The Owls did not fall behind for the rest of the contest until Davydova connected on 1-of-2 free throws with 32 seconds remaining to put FIU ahead, 66-65.
Senior Carmen Miloglav would then come up with a steal, dishing to Coley, who was fouled with 16 seconds left on the clock. Coley sank both free throws to give the Panthers a 68-65 advantage, and an FAU three-pointer came up short, as FIU held on for the win.
Coley led all scorers with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 shooting from the free throw line. The All-America candidate has scored in double-figures in 27-consecutive games and the 20-point performance marks her 20th such outing of the season. Coley added five rebounds, five assists and a team-high four steals against the Owls.
Davydova registered her 10th double-double with 13 points and 11 boards, as she has now led the Panther rebounding efforts in 19 games this season. Miloglav dished out a team-leading six assists on the day, while senior Finda Mansare registered FIU's only block of the contest.
For the game, the Panthers shot 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from the floor, 50 percent (2-of-4) from three-point range, and 75 percent (12-of-16) from the free throw line. FAU shot 43.8 percent (28-of-64) from the field and just 27.3 percent (6-of-22) from three-point land, and 60 percent (3-of-5) from the charity stripe.
The Panthers out-rebounded the Owls, 40-29, as FIU out-scored FAU by a 10-3 margin in second-chance points. Both teams capitalized off turnovers, with FIU scoring 23 points off 18 FAU turnovers, and the Owls netting 25 points off 20 Panther turnovers.