Florida Gulf Coast 76, FIU 73

Chase Fieler and Christophe Varidel each pitched in 18 points as

Florida Gulf Coast beat Florida International 76-73 Thursday night

in a nonconference contest.

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.