Just a reminder, the rivalry between the Florida International University Panthers and Florida Atlantic Owls men’s basketball teams is still young.
However, the two schools are on the verge of changing that sooner than later.
Antonio Daye had a season-high 22 points as FIU narrowly defeated FAU 79-76 on Saturday.
Karlis Silins connected on a 3-pointer to cut the deficit within two points for FAU, 75-73 with 9 seconds remaining. The Owls then fouled, sending Brian Beard Jr. to the charity stripe. He made both attempts and made two more for a 79-73 lead after Silins committed a turnover with 4 seconds left. FAU’s Michael Forrest made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to complete the scoring.
It was a nail biter and another chapter in the storybook of this young rivalry.
“Whenever you are going to play your rival on the court for the third time,” Panthers coach Jeremy Ballard stated. “It is going to be a battle.”
The Panthers improved to 2-1 against the Owls for the season.
FIU finished the game hitting 43.3 percent (26-for-60) from the floor while holding the Owls to just 33.3 percent (21-for-63) shooting from the field. Also, the Panthers forced Florida Atlantic into 18 turnovers on the afternoon, leading to 21 points off the miscues for the blue and gold. FIU also held a 36-22 points in the paint advantage in the win.
The Owls came out of the locker room and immediately began chipping away even further at the Panthers’ cushion. Anthony Adger completed a 21-6 FAU run by converting a three-point play that gave FAU its first lead of the day, 45-44, with just under 12 minutes left in the game.
The beat goes on as FIU faces Louisiana Tech at home next Sunday. FAU takes its talents on the road up against North Texas.