Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Tymell Murphy scored a game-high 22 points as the FIU Panthers cruised to an 80-61 decision over the Arkansas State Red Wolves in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both sides at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
Malik Smith chipped in 11 points for FIU (2-2, 1-0 Sun Belt), which is now at the .500 mark after an 0-2 start to the season. Jerome Frink and Juan Ferrales added 10 points each off the bench. Frink also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds in the wining effort.
Ed Townsel came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points for the Red Wolves (4-2, 0-1). Trey Finn scored 12 points and Brandon Peterson just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. The loss snapped ASU's four- game winning streak.
The contest went back and forth in the opening stages before FIU went on a 13-0 run to build a 29-19 lead with 4:36 remaining in the half. The Red Wolves regained their composure, but still went into the intermission trailing 33-26. The Panthers outscored the visitors, 20-10, in the paint before the break to go into halftime on top.
Gaby Belardo drained a three-pointer just over two minutes into the second half to put FIU up by 10 points. The Panthers managed to maintain a double- digit advantage the rest of the way and finished the second half with a 66.7 field goal percentage.
FIU's bench provided 33 points, while the Red Wolves' reserves contributed 19 points.