Malik Smith's driving layup and free throw gave Florida International a one-point lead with 20 seconds left and teammate Deric Hill's subsequent steal and two free throws sent the Panthers to a 76-73 victory over Louisiana-Monroe in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday night. The visiting Warhawks had gone up 73-71 on Amos Olatayo's breakaway layup with 33.7 seconds left after an Florida International turnover. But Smith got the Panthers (12-10, 7-6) the lead back and Hill's defensive play sealed it. He swiped the ball at midcourt, was fouled on his drive to the basket and calmly dropped in both free throws. The Warhawks (3-15, 2-10) saw their bid to send it to overtime fail when Jayon James' hurried 3-point attempt was short. Olatayo led all scorers with 30 points. Smith paced FIU with 17. The victory snapped FIU's losing streak at two games. The Panthers had dropped two-point decisions at South Alabama and to Middle Tennessee in their last two games. The loss extended the Warhawks' skid to seven games. They shot 58 percent from the field (29 of 50) but had 26 turnovers. FIU, which shot a respectable 48.2 percent from the field (27 of 56), had 17 turnovers.
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