FIU Comeback Too Much for Herd

Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone
MIAMI, Fla.- FIU fell behind by 18 points in the first-half but fought back in the second stanza to down visiting Marshall 66-62 in overtime Thursday evening at FIU Arena.


FIU improved to 9-8 and 2-2 in Conference USA with the win, while the Thundering Herd dropped to 4-13 and 0-4 in the league.

FIU's Dennis Mavin led all scorers with 19 points, while Adrian Diaz chipped in 12 and Daviyon Draper and Dominique Williams added 10 apiece. Diaz also collected four blocks and eight rebounds for the Panthers, who were outboarded 49-38 by the Herd.

MU was led by Justin Edmonds' 15 points, while Ryan Taylor had 14 and Austin Loop added 11, all of which came in the first half. Taylor also posted 11 rebounds and four steals in his fifth double-double effort of the season. Aleksa Nikolic led the team with six assists.

The game was certainly a tale of two halves as the Herd made 10 of its 20 3-point attempts in the first half, but just two of 11 after. MU shot 24.4 percent (10-41) in the second half and overtime, while FIU made 16 of its 30 shots (53.3 percent).

MU also connected on just 6 of 16 (37.5 percent) at the free throw line for the game.

Despite the Herd's 20-6 edge on the offensive glass, MU held just a 10-6 edge on second chance points. FIU also registered eight blocked shots on the evening compared to the Herd's 1 and held a 36-16 margin on points in the paint.

Marshall came out firing on all cylinders in the first half, building an 18-point lead (34-16) on a 3-pointer by Edmonds with 4:18 left. The Herd took a 36-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

FIU mounted a steady charge in the second half, chipping away until Diaz converted a layup with 5:35 left in regulation to give the Panthers a 51-50 lead. Nikolic hit a jumper with 3:55 left to put MU back in front (52-51) but FIU's Williams answered with a 3-pointer shortly thereafter and the Panthers held the lead until MU's Taylor made a driving layup with 0.7 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Marshall struggled in the extra period as it converted just 1 of 8 field goal attempts. Edmonds made 1 of 2 at the free throw line to give MU a 62-61 lead with 2:04 left, but Diaz rocked home a putback dunk with 58 seconds left to nose FIU back in front.

Mavin added a free throw with 26 seconds left, but the Herd still had a chance. However, Draper blocked a Taylor runner down the lane and FIU's Kris Gulley took the rebound and slammed home the breakaway dunk for the exclamation point on the comeback victory.

The Herd will be back in action Saturday at Florida Atlantic. Tip time is 5:30 p.m. ET and the game will be carried on the American Sports Network (WCHS-TV in the Huntington-Charleston market).
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