The FIU Panther’s pursuit of a winning season (Hopefully the first under Anthony Evans’ tenure) took a big step forward Saturday night after a thrilling, nail-biting, hair-pulling, god praying come from behind victory thanks to leading scorer Brian Beard Jr.

The Panthers led by as much as 8 early in the first half characterized with good rebounding as the team recorded 4 steals, including 3 from Beard Jr. himself. And yes he does have a beard. However poor shooting by FIU stifled early attempts to pull away keeping the game relatively close despite an initial 5-0 run. In fact it was a dog fight for much of the first half as the score seesawed back and forth with a half dozen lead changes.

Trejon Jacob ended the half withΒ a great rebound, charging down the court for a sweet lay up to put the FIU squad up 33-32. One stat was stuck out was the team shooting below 33% from the field heading into the break (Louisiana Tech shot 46.4%in comparison) though on the flip side we out rebounded them 19-16.

In the second half costly turnovers, poor shots and bad lay ups gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of the night (8) early into the second half. Shooting continued to be atrocious too. With a little over 11 minutes to go team was just shooting 25%, luckily accuracy would rise to 43% as the half wore on, nailing half their shots from outside the perimeter.

The final seconds of the game really got the fans going as FIU held a slim one point lead (65-64) with 21.3 seconds to go. The Bulldogs made both free throws putting them back into the lead. They extended their lead to 3 but with less than 10 seconds, trigger man Brian Beard Jr. nailed the three-pointer to tie the game with just 2 seconds to go, and he wasn’t finished yet!

The Bulldogs got called for an out of bounds at mid-court with 1.4 seconds left in regulation giving our boys a crucial last shot.

Grabbing the in-bound pass Beard Jr. took a jump-shot that seemed to last forever and a day until…

KA-BOOM!

It was nothing but net as the team completed its come from behind victory giving its small but dedicated fans their money’s worth.

Standing at #11 overall heading into the game, the Panthers hope to get into the C-USA tournament and make some unexpected noise. However at 11-13 (5-6 Conference) they still have some work to do with 7 games remaining (With 2 at home) on the schedule, including an upcoming 3-game road stint.

Seeing as this was my first go at covering college basketball, I only have this to say:

It was an honor and a pleasure as the Cheap Seats got the floor seats tonight!

 

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Gabriel Garcia
Just an avid sports fan who happens to have a love-hate (mostly love) relationship with his local teams be it collegiate or professional and also happens to be a news junkie. Mix in outstanding optimism with cold realism and you've got yourself a balanced cocktail perfect for champions.

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