MIAMI (AP) -- A.J. Slaughter scored 12 points off the bench and D.J. Magley added 10 as Western Kentucky led from the start to beat Florida International 69-54 Wednesday.
Neither team could get the offense going early as a Nikola Gacesa jumper tied the score at 9 with 13:32 to play in the first half. But a Slaughter score started an 18-5 run for the Hilltoppers, capped off by a Courtney Lee 3-pointer for a 27-14 lead with 4:48 to go.Western Kentucky (23-6, 15-2 SBC) led 35-22 at the intermission and built that into an 18-point, 51-33 advantage with 13:55 remaining.Florida International staged a 16-7 run of its own over the next five minutes, closing to within 58-49 with 8:05 to go on a Badara Ndiaye lay-up. But five straight points by the Hilltoppers defused the rally and the Golden Panther could not recover.Gacesa led Florida International (9-18, 6-11 SBC) with 13 points and Alex Galindo had 10.Western Kentucky also controlled the boards, out-rebounding FIU, 36-28, after the Golden Panthers had won the battle on the boards in 11 of their last 13 games.