MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Brian Beard Jr. and Trejon Jacob combined to make 11 3-pointers and score 48 points and Florida International pulled away in the second half for an 83-76 victory over Middle Tennessee in a Conference USA opener on Thursday night.
Beard sank 5 of 13 from long range, scored 28 and handed out seven assists, while Jacob finished with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from distance with seven rebounds. The pair sank 11 of 22 from 3-point range for the Golden Panthers (10-4), while their teammates made just 1 of 10. FIU extended the best start in school history with the win.
Reggie Scurry's layup with 3:54 remaining in the first half gave the Blue Raiders (3-11) a 33-31 lead. Neither team scored the rest of the half. Jayce Johnson scored the first seven points in a 9-0 spurt to open the second half and Middle Tennessee led 42-31. A dunk by Karl Gamble put the Blue Raiders on top 60-49 with 10:56 left. From there it was all FIU. Antonio Daye's 3-point play began a 15-0 run that was capped by five straight points from Beard and the Golden Panthers stayed in front over the final 8:13.
Antonio Green topped Middle Tennessee with 23 points. Donovan Sims added 17 points and nine rebounds and Johnson finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.
FIU snapped a five-game skid in a series the Blue Raiders lead 30-9.