Tip-off! Let’s jump for this bitch and get the season started. Your Florida International Panthers – the recently removed “Golden” forever in our hearts – start yet another season in the good ol’ Conference USA. We begin our story, however, with a local non-division opponent by the name of Florida Memorial University (Sun Conference). Oh, come on. You’ve never heard of the mighty Florida Memorial Lions? Yeah, me either. Yet, here we are. So let’s use a cliche to set this one up. No opponent is to be taken lightly.

FIU Sophmore Guard (3) Trejon Jacob focused on defense

FIU began it’s 37th basketball season this Friday night. For the past three seasons, the Panthers have come out victorious in opening games and looked for their fourth against the Lions. The Ocean Bank Convocation Center was looking as awesome as ever, if not more so. The beautiful shores and palm trees on the court floor, the Ocean Drive and beach sidelines, and on this day, the students and fans made it out to pack the stands and lend their team some much-needed support and cheer as they tipped-off the new year. Coach Anthony Evans began his fifth season as the man in charge for the home-team. This one, however, proves to be an important one following a – let’s be real – disastrous year in 2016-17 when they finished with a 6-24 record (2-15 in C-USA). The road back to recovery started against FMU.

Let’s not bury the lead, FIU took that ass! The final score was 70-47. Here’s the breakdown:

The game was a bit ugly at first. Both teams struggling to find their offense. They needed to get into the groove of the season, maybe? It wasn’t particularly strong defensive efforts that kept the teams from putting up points, although FIU would eventually lock down on defense and suffocate the limited FMU offense. It just seemed like the flow of the offense wasn’t there. For the Panthers, a lot of shots missed and a lot of offensive sets with poor execution. On the other end, the Lions were playing about as well as they could. The undersized front court of Florida Memorial was overwhelmed by Florida International’s bigs, so they resorted to the outside game. Their diminutive Point Guard, Omar Outar ran the offense from the perimeter. He was their leading scorer with 11 points on the night. Also, he was listed as 5′ 9″… Yeah, sure thing, bro.

So here are some numbers to back up the aforementioned tale of two halves for the Panthers. They would shoot 38.7 percent (12-of-31) from the field in the first half and 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from three. Not exactly great as the score was 35-31 at halftime. They came out like gangbusters in the second, though, 54.2 percent (13-of-24) from the field and 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from behind the arc helped FIU run away with this one. Newcomers Trejon Jacob and Josh Stamps made quite the first impression by leading the score-sheet with 18 and 15 points, respectively, including four three-pointers a-piece. Team veteran Eric Lockett logged in those good minutes as well and contributed 10 points of his own and a team-high six rebounds.

FIU’s Big Man Hassan Hussein starting his poster collection early this season.

Let’s roll, baby. Let’s keep this shit going as the season continues. Continue the winning and continue the support of the fans. The Panthers will get Saturday off and host the Stetson Hatters on Sunday at 7 PM. See you there!

For a complete photo gallery from tonight’s game, please CLICK HERE.

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Enrique Sierra
Enrique Sierra, Jr. is a writer, editor, and podcast co-host for Lemon City Live. A Miami, Florida sports fanatic just trying to live the dream.
http://www.lemoncitylive.com

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