N.C. Central made a strong run at host Florida International, but couldn't quite pull the upset over Isiah Thomas' squad, falling 83-73 in their first game of the Miami Subregional of the 2KSports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
Marvin Roberts had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Golden Panthers (2-3), while Phil Gary chipped in 18 points and Antoine Watson 14.
Vincent Davis led the Eagles with 23 points and tied his career high with nine rebounds, while C.J. Wilkerson added a season-high 21 points.
NCCU trailed 36-30 at halftime and 50-49 at one point in the second half before the Panthers got their working margin.
NCCU's next game in the event is on the same court Sunday night against Murray State (2-1).