BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — Brian Beard scored on a twisting layup with nine seconds remaining and Florida International rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to defeat Western Kentucky 77-76 on Thursday night.
Beard’s layup came after Western Kentucky’s Josh Anderson tipped in an offensive rebound to give the Hilltoppers a 76-75 lead with 16 seconds remaining.
The Panthers trailed 60-44 with 11:29 left but quickly cut their deficit to six points just three minutes later and first took the lead, 73-72, on a dunk by Osasumwen Osaghae with 1:34 to go. Osaghae’s dunk was the first of five lead changes in the final two minutes.
Osaghae led FIU (12-8, 3-2 Conference USA) with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Antonio Daye added 15 points. They scored 13 and 12, respectively, in the second half. Beard finished with 14 points.
Jared Savage had 19 points and nine rebounds for Western Kentucky (8-9, 1-3), Josh Anderson had 17 points and Taveion Hollingsworth scored 14. Freshman standout Charles Bassey picked up four fouls and was held to eight points and seven rebounds.