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February 21, 2013

Last dance

Tonight's doubleheader against Arkansas-Little Rock Senior Night at The Branch, the last home game for the men and last for the women unless they get into the Women's NIT again and host a game or two.

The women's team says sayonara to three seniors: guard Carmen Miloglav, sometime point guard; forward Diamond Ashmore, whose worth could be measured by how flat and defensively vulnerable FIU looked played without her in home losses to Middle Tennessee and Louisiana-Monroe; and forward Finda Mansare, who started 64 of 65 games as a sophomore and junior and has been depended upon this season for a mid-range jumper to keep the opposing hounds off Jerica Coley.

As for Coley, in the last 11 games, FIU's scored 696 points. Coley's scored 330 of those, a 33.0 points per game average and 47.4 percent of FIU's scoring.

Defending The Branch for the final time on the men's side are guard Cameron Bell, who has started five of 14 games since coming off shoulder injury this year; forward Tola Akomolafe, who can be a barometer for FIU -- if he's into it and rebounding well early, it usually means a good night for FIU; Gaby Belardo, a transfer who began the year as the starting point guard and has been coming off the bench to spell Deric Hill; and Manny Nunez, who has made five appearances this season, to much glee from the Pi Kappa Alphas at the FAU game.

With a win, the men's team clinches at least a .500 record with road games against ULM and FAU remaining before the Sun Belt tournament. That's maybe not as remarkable as the other college basketball story in town. But it's darn close.

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