Florida International survived a second-half scoring drought and held on for a 70-64 victory over North Texas on Thursday night in a Sun Belt Conference game, stretching their home winning streak to four games. Roger Franklin led all scorers with 22 points for North Texas. Tymell Murphy led FIU with 20 points. The Panthers (9-8, 4-4) were up 18 points at 50-32 with 13:29 left in the game but scored only six points over the next 10 minutes to let the Mean Green (7-12, 2-6) get back in it. The Panthers saw their lead shrink to five points in the final minute before Malik Smith hit 5 of 6 free throws and Cameron Bell 2 of 2 in the final 52 seconds to prevent the complete collapse. Smith also had big 3-pointer in the closing minutes that turned a six-point game into a nine-point lead for FIU. Turnovers proved to be the difference. The Panthers cashed in on 22 North Texas turnovers for 31-16 advantage in points off turnovers, forcing the visitors in 22 turnovers for the game. Alabama transfer Tony Mitchell, who was averaging a team-high 14.6 points a game entering the contest, was scoreless for the Mean Green.
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