Florida International nearly lost a seven-point lead over the final 45 seconds, but the Panthers held on for a 66-64 victory over Arkansas State in Sun Belt Conference basketball Thursday night at Jonesboro, Ark.
The Panthers (8-7, 3-3) led 64-57 before making two key turnovers and missing three free throws down the stretch to let the Red Wolves (10-6, 4-3) nearly pull off the comeback.
The Red Wolves were in position to tie the game, but a charging foul on Trey Finn with 21.5 seconds left in a two-point game gave the ball back to FIU.
Deric Hill made one of two free throws to put the Panthers back up by three, but Arkansas State's Rakeem Dickerson made two free throws with 4.2 seconds left to make it a 65-64 game.
Hill made one more free throw after that, and the Red Wolves couldn't get off a shot at the end.
The Panthers shot 51.2 percent from the field (21 of 41) to Arkansas State's 34.5 percent, but the Red Wolves got off 17 more field-goal attempts thanks to a 39-27 advantage in rebounding.
Arkansas State's Ed Townsel led all scorers with 20 points. Finn added 13.
FIU had four players in double figures, with Jerome Frink and Tymell Murphy each scoring 12. Hill added 11, and Malik Smith chipped in with 10.