The FIU men's basketball team (15-12, 10-8 SBC) will close out the 2012-2013 regular season with a pair of road games, beginning with a trip to Monroe, La., to take on the ULM Warhawks this Thursday. Game time is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
The Panthers are coming off a 65-52 win over UALR on Thursday, Feb. 21. The win closed out the 2012-2013 home schedule for FIU, in which the Panthers finished 10-3 at U.S. Century Bank Arena. Senior Cameron Bell posted a career-high 17 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds versus the Trojans in his final home game as a Panther. Four seniors, who played in their final home game at FIU, were honored before the contest (Bell, Tola Akomolafe, Gaby Belardo and Manny Nunez). Versus UALR, FIU held the Trojans to 9.1 percent shooting from 3-point range (2-of-22) while the Panthers converted a season-high 16-of-18 (88.9 percent) from the charity stripe.
With the win, FIU recorded its highest number of conference victories (10) since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 1998-1999. It also marked the 15th victory of the season for the Panthers, giving FIU its most wins since the 1999-2000 season and securing the program's first .500-or-better record in 13 years.
The Panthers enter this week's action averaging 70.0 points-per-game (No. 3 in the conference) on 43.1 percent shooting (No. 2) in the conference). FIU is allowing 70.3 points-per-game (No. 9 in the conference) as the opposition is shooting 45.7 percent from the floor. The Panthers lead the Sun Belt Conference in steals, averaging 9.6 per game.
Leading FIU in scoring is junior Tymell Murphy, who comes into this week's action averaging 15.3 points-per-game (No. 6 in the conference). The Brooklyn, N.Y., native leads the conference and ranks No. 7 in the nation in shooting percentage (59.2). Murphy also leads the team in rebounding, averaging 7.1 rebounds-per-contest (No. 5 in the conference). Junior Malik Smith is second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.5 points-per-game (No. 11 in the conference). The Boston, Mass., native leads the conference and ranks No. 58 in the nation in 3-pointers made (2.7 per game). Smith also ranks among the conference leaders in free-throw percentage (78.4 - No. 7). Freshman Jerome Frink is averaging 10.5 points-per-game (No. 25 in the conference) and 6.4 rebounds-per-contest (No. 9 in the conference), while sophomore Deric Hill ranks No. 8 in the conference in assists-per-game (2.9) and is No. 2 in the conference and No. 46 in the nation in steals, averaging 2.1 spg.