Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Jerome Frink and Tymell Murphy both scored 20 points as the FIU Panthers held on to defeat the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, 87-82, in Sun Belt Conference action at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
Before fouling out, Murphy also accounted for six rebounds, four steals and three assists for the Panthers (14-12, 9-8 Sun Belt) as they snapped a two- game slide. Malik Smith added 17 points and Cameron Bell 10 more off the bench for the hosts.
The Hilltoppers (13-14, 7-9), losers of three in a row, were paced by T.J. Price who tallied a game-high 22 points, shooting 6-of-13 behind the 3-point line. Jamal Crook logged 18 points, George Fant 17 and Teeng Akol 11 points in 17 minutes of action.
Both teams shot at least 60 percent from the floor in the first half, but thanks to 5-of-10 beyond the arc through the first 20 minutes of action, it was FIU that posted a 42-38 lead at the break.
In the second half the Panthers remained hot from the field overall (.522) and also converted 18-of-24 at the free-throw line in order to remain on top.
In a game that featured three ties and eight lead changes, WKU shot 50.0 percent from the floor but also hurt itself with 16 turnovers on the night.