FIU cheerleaders tossed t-shirts into the crowd during the second half of Thursday’s FIU-Old Dominion game at U.S. Century Bank Arena. It should’ve been sweatshirts for watching those teams’ 40 minutes of misfiring. Baby, they were cold inside.
Arctic FIU set a school record for fewest points in a game in a 52-36 loss to Old Dominion. The 36 undercut the 38 scored against Georgetown in 2008 and Middle Tennessee State in the 2011 Sun Belt Conference tournament. Georgetown is Georgetown. Middle played fueled by emotion over the death of a player on the women’s team who was dating a player on the men’s team.
In contrast, Old Dominion (8-9, 2-0 in Conference USA) came into Thursday’s game two games under .500 with no special motivation. Yet the Monarchs led 29-14 at halftime as FIU’s points edged its turnovers (11).
“It’s frustrating sometimes, when you know you’ve got players capable of helping the teams in multiple ways, not just scoring,” FIU senior forward Tymell Murphy said. “It’s just tough when you try to get it going, and it’s just not going.”
For the game, FIU shot 13 for 42 (31 percent) from the field, including three for 17 (17.6 percent) from three-point range. A seven for 14 night from the foul line didn’t help. Aside from Murphy, who led all scorers with 20 points, the rest of FIU went five for 29 (17.2 percent) from the field, one for 14 (7.1 percent) from three-point range and five for 11 (45.5 percent) from the line.
“Offense is leading to some breakdowns defensively,” FIU coach Anthony Evans said. “I thought we played better defense tonight. But offensively we’re not scoring. I don’t think we’re moving the basketball well enough. We’re not making shots.”
Not that Old Dominion resembled the Heat at their best, either. Only two Monarchs, guards Keenan Palmore and Dimitri Batten, got into double figures, with 17 and 11 points respectively. The Monarchs committed 15 turnovers, one of which was the ball slipping upwards out of Batten’s hands and out of bounds as he went up for a three-pointer.
Yet, Old Dominion answered FIU’s two mini-runs in the second half, the second of which got the Panthers to within double digits at 36-27. A Marco Porcher Jiminez three-pointer, a Murphy fast break layup off a Rakeem Buckles block and a Murphy layup off his own steal seemed to get FIU back into the game.
Then, Buckles lost the ball down low and missed a jumper on the next two possessions. A three-pointer by Ambrose Mosely started an 8-0 run that ended the competitive phase of the game with just over 10 minutes remaining.
FIU announced the filling out of its football coaching staff with the hirings of running backs coach Kenny Dixon, last year a running backs assistant at FAU; linebackers coach Rob Harley, last year a graduate assistant at Michigan State; and special teams coordinator Shannon Moore, a longtime assistant at South Dakota State.
Offensive line coach/run game coordinator Steve Shankweiler will be the offensive coordinator. Last year, head coach Ron Turner acted as his own offensive coordinator.