FIU men

Home debut offers FIU chance to improve


Rebounding is a concern as FIU plays its home opener today against Stephen F. Austin.

Stephen F. Austin at FIU

When/where: 2 p.m., U.S. Century Bank Arena.

TV/radio: None. Live video streaming at

Records: FIU 0-1; Stephen F. Austin 1-0.

Starting lineups: SFA: G Hal Bateman; G Antonio Bostic; G Desmond Haymon; F Jacob Parker; C Taylor Smith; FIU: G Malik Smith; G Tymell Murphy; G Deric Hill; F Tola Akomolafe; F Jerome Frink

Of note: FIU upset Stephen F. Austin last year at the Lumberjacks’ tournament in the schools’ only previous meeting. There’s a difference in quality in opening opponents. FIU lost to Boston College. SFA beat Howard Payne.

A couple of things FIU men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino Jr. would like to see corrected during Saturday afternoon’s home opener against Stephen F. Austin:

In the season-opening loss to Boston College, FIU got outrebounded by 18, a number Pitino found excessive even though FIU is small overall and using 6-6 freshman Jerome Frink at center. Also, while FIU played at the pace that Pitino wanted and used 12 players, he didn’t feel it made the most of that pace.

“We speed teams up, but we’ve got to get the stop on the other end,” Pitino said. “We would force a team to play fast, take a bad shot, but we wouldn’t get the rebound. Or we wouldn’t contain the ball and they’d get a layup.

“I thought we did a lot of good things. But we made a lot of mistakes. Getting down 18, coming back, tying it on the road was a positive. We showed a lot of heart by doing that.”

Frink actually pulled down 10 rebounds in addition to 22 points, the most points in an FIU debut since future NBA player Raja Bell put up 28 in 1997 against Eastern Kentucky.

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