Florida Gulf Coast 76, FIU 73
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP)
Florida Gulf Coast (7-4) led 43-31 at halftime, backed by 16 first-half points off the bench from Varidel. The junior went 4 of 6 from beyond the arc in the first half, and in the second, closed out the scoring with two free throws with 6 seconds remaining.
The Golden Panthers (3-4) shot just 35.7 percent (10 of 28) in the first half, but ticked up to 46.9 percent (15 of 32) in the second. Gaby Belardo led FIU with 17 points, and Jerome Frink added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
FIU trailed 74-69 with 1:29 left, but Malik Smith's free throws with 49 seconds remaining capped a 4-0 run and pulled the Golden Panthers within a point until Varidel hit his free throws.