Florida Gulf Coast nearly blew a 14-point second-half lead but held on to beat Florida International 76-73 on Thursday night.
The Eagles (7-5) saw their double-digit bulge trimmed to one point in the closing seconds, but the visiting Panthers (3-4) missed two 3-point attempts and junior Christophe Varidel hit two free throws with 5.6 seconds left to clinch the win.
Guard Christophe Varidel led all scorers with 16 points off the bench. Guard Gaby Belardo scored 13 points to pace FIU.
Florida Gulf Coast never trailed. After breaking a 21-21 tie with a 7-0 run early in the first half and going to the locker room up 43-31, the Eagles led by double figures for much of the second half.
But problems at the free-throw line let the Panthers get back in it. The Eagles made only 12 of 23 attempts from the stripe and could have been in much worse trouble.
But the Panthers weren't much better. They made 13 of 23 attempts.