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Georgia Southern 78, Florida International 72

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Georgia Southern stretched a four-point halftime lead into a 13-point advantage 10 minutes into the second half, then rode that cushion to a 78-72 victory over Florida International on Monday night in Statesboro, Ga.

After trailing 60-47 at the midpoint of the second period, the visiting Panthers managed to close the gap to 72-70 on guard Marco Porcher Jimenez’ 3-pointer with 1:27 to go, but the Eagles held on by hitting five of six free throws in the final minute.

Junior guard Jelani Hewitt, who led the Eagles with a career-high 33 points, hit two of two attempts, guard Mike Hughes two of two, and guard Curtis Diamond one of two down the stretch.

Forward Adrian Diaz’s dunk that made it 75-72 was FIU’s last basket.

Diaz, a junior transfer from Kansas State, matched Hewitt for scoring honors with a career-high 33 points, 20 of them coming in the second half. He was the only Panther to score in double figures.

In addition to Hewitt’s output, Georgia Southern (3-1) got 11 points each from Diamond and forward Trent Wiedeman.

FIU (3-1) outshot Georgia Southern from the field, hitting 44.1 percent to the Eagles’ 37.7 percent. Both teams struggled from the behind the 3-point arc, with the Panthers making only five of 21 (23.8 percent) and the Eagles seven of 24 (29.2 percent).

The Eagles enjoyed a 44-35 rebounding advantage.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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