Phil Fayne threw down a key dunk late in the game and he, Milik Yarbrough and Josh Jefferson scored 17 points apiece as Illinois State overcame an early deficit to defeat Florida Gulf Coast 74-66 in a season opener Tuesday night.
FGCU fought back to within three points, 60-57, with 5:29 left to play, but a dunk by Fayne sparked a 6-0 run that rebuilt the lead. FGCU came within 70-66 with 95 seconds remaining on Schadrac Casimir's 3-pointer, but four straight free throws by Yarbrough and Keyshawn Evans closed out the game. Fayne also corralled a game-high 11 rebounds.
Casimir scored 18 points - all 3-pointers - to lead the Eagles. Dinero Mercurius and Haanif Cheatham scored 11 and 10, respectively.
FGCU led 6-0 in the early going, but a tip-in by Fayne off an Evans miss put Illinois State in the lead for good, 20-18.