HOUSTON (AP) Tymell Murphy had 22 points and 15 rebounds and Florida International defeated Rice 71-60 in the Conference USA opener for both teams on Thursday night.
Murphy scored his first basket just before halftime to put FIU ahead 33-32 at the break. With the score tied at 46-46 and just over 10 minutes to play, Murphy accounted for 20 of FIU's next 21 points. He capped his scoring tear on a jumper that put the Panthers up 67-60 with 1:10 to play.
During the closing stretch, Murphy shot 8 of 9 from the field, converted two three-point plays, grabbed five rebounds and had one block.
Dennis Mavin added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Panthers (9-7).
Austin Ramljak led Rice (5-9) with 14 points. The Owls kept pace with Murphy's one-man show as late as Max Guercy's 3-pointer which put them ahead 56-55 with 6:43 left.