SAN MARCOS, TX — The best postseason viewing was not to be had in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night. The big show had a series of blowouts while in San Marcos, Texas at Strahan Arena, there was a nice little basketball game going on that involved a one-possession game with under a minute left.
Florida International beat a very good Texas St team on the road 87-81 in what was a first: the first post season win for FIU in school history. Brian Beard Jr. was amazing, finding space where there was none, scoring 29 points and harassing Texas St point guard Tre Nottingham all night. Devon Andrews added 29 of his own, finding his three-point shot to go with nice finishes around the rim in traffic.
Osasumwen Osaghae was too lengthy for Texas State to deal with, blocking shots and changing others while grabbing 12 boards.
FIU overcame a nine-point deficit with about 10-minutes to go in the second half. Then Brian Beard came back into the game and was too much for the Bobcat defense to handle. They tried to “ICE” the pick-and-roll, forcing Beard to go away from the middle of the floor, but he repeatedly snaked his way back into the paint and drew a foul or scored. His bucket to extend the lead to three points in the final minute came on such a play.
So far the only teams left in the post season are Marshall and FIU.
The atmosphere at Strahan was muted, although the lineup production was stellar. Texas State’s Strahan Arena is nice — certainly a step up from say, UTSA’s gym. Texas State has a good basketball team, and while there was not much of a crowd — the box lists 1000+ as in attendance — traveling to Texas from Florida is never easy.
FIU plays at home in the 2nd round of the CIT