Shaquille Harrison stayed to swing slowly on the rim above the FIU defense following a second half slam in Tulsa’s 77-65 win over the Panthers Saturday at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
“They are a good team,” FIU coach Anthony Evans said. “They made a run in the second half and we could never come back from that.”
The Golden Hurricane (15-12, 10-3 C-USA) used a 9-2 run with 12 minutes remaining to rip momentum from Panther paws.
“They are a lengthy team,” said Tymell Murphy, who led FIU with 19 points. “When we got into the paint for layups there was a lot of altering and they were able to go on fast breaks.”
The Panthers had a 35-28 lead at the half but could not hold on as alleys to the rim disappeared.
Defensive dynamo Brandon Swannegan was relentless in the paint, denying all easy opportunities for the Panthers in the second half and 34 percent for the game.
“Swannegan was blocking shots and changing shots,” Evans said. “In the first half he wasn’t in there, so we were getting to the basket.”
The Panthers (13-15, 5-8 C-USA) shot 7 for 23 in the second half. Swannegan swatted three shots and had nine rebounds in the win.
Dennis Mavin had 18 points in the loss. Rakeem Buckles scored 10 points for the Panthers. Harrison scored 17 points, had five steals and five assists to lead Tulsa.
“I just thought we missed layups today,” Evans said. “The other day it was energy. But today it was just layups and we turned the ball over a couple times. I thought we played a good first half, but couple guys got into foul trouble.”
The Panthers play at 7 p.m. Thursday at Southern Miss.