SAN ANTONIO — Edrico McGregor scored a career-high 16 points, but FIU got 16 from Dennis Mavin to lead the Panthers past UTSA, 80-72, on Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
McGregor went 6-for-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line to go along with three rebounds, an assist and steal for the Roadrunners (7-16, 3-7 C-USA). Devon Agusi and Keon Lewis joined him in double-figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Phillip Jones finished with eight points, nine boards and a career-best four blocks.
UTSA totaled 34 points in the paint and outrebounded FIU, 37-31, but shot 39.7 percent in the contest. In addition, the squad had a season-best five blocks.
Meanwhile, Mavin hit five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and four free throws to pace the Panthers (13-12, 5-5 C-USA), who never trailed. Tymell Murphy tallied 13 points and Rakeem Buckles added a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
FIU shot 48.2 percent for the game and scored 14 points off 13 UTSA turnovers.
Mavin opened the contest with the first of five 3-pointers that FIU would hit in the first half. UTSA kept it close in the first seven minutes before the Panthers started to pull away.
Agusi’s triple pulled UTSA within three at 12-9, but FIU scored five straight points and outscored the home squad 19-11 over the next seven minutes. Marco Porcher Jimenez hit two treys during the stretch to help give the Panthers a 31-20 cushion.
The lead swelled to 38-26 with 1:32 before halftime following a 7-0 FIU run that was cut short on a dunk by McGregor.
The flush sparked a 6-0 finish to the half for UTSA and it only trailed 38-32 at intermission.
Agusi opened the second half with a layup to trim the deficit to 38-34, but that would be as close as the Roadrunners would get.
FIU went on a 10-0 run for a 48-34 lead and the visitors took their largest lead, 68-50, on a Mavin layup with 8:21 remaining.
The advantage remained in double figures until Lewis’ 3-pointer with a minute on the clock and UTSA continued to hang around thanks to a few missed free throws from the Panthers.
The Birds got as close as seven, 79-72, on another McGregor dunk with 18 ticks left, but Mavin provided the final margin with a freebie at the other end.
The Roadrunners are back in action at 3 p.m. on Saturday when they host Florida Atlantic (9-15, 4-5 C-USA). UTSA will honor its senior class prior to the contest as part of Senior Day festivities.