Western Kentucky turned a three-point game with under nine minutes left into a 76-63 victory over Florida International on Thursday night in Bowling Green, Ky.
The Hilltoppers (9-5) led 55-52 before closing the game on a 23-9 run to improve to 3-0 in Sun Belt Conference play.
The Panthers fell to 4-6 overall, 1-2 in the Sun Belt.
WKU jumped in front early, but the teams went to the locker room tied at 33-33 at the intermission.
The game remained even for more than 10 minutes in the second half before the Hilltoppers broke out to a 64-54 lead with 4:35 remaining.
FIU was never able to get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Western Kentucky sophomore George Fant led all scorers with 24 points, and classmate Kevin Kaspar added 17 off the bench. Brandon Harris added 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Hilltoppers.
Junior Malik Smith led the visiting Panthers with 20 points, and freshman Jerome Frink added 15.