Recap: Western Ky vs. FIU
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Kahlil McDonald came off the bench to score a team-best 19 points as Western Kentucky held on to defeat FIU, 67-63, in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Summit Arena.
Also scoring in double figures for the seventh-seeded Hilltoppers (12-18) were T.J. Price and George Fant with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Derrick Gordon came up a point shy of a double-double as he cleared a team-best 10 rebounds.
The 10th-seeded Golden Panthers (8-21) were led by DeJuan Wright who recorded a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Cameron Bell tacked on 11 points.
Both teams had trouble shooting the ball from the floor in the first half, WKU hitting on only 37.5 percent and the Golden Panthers at 33.3 percent. However, of their 12 made baskets in the period, the Hilltoppers knocked down half of them from three-point range in order to take a 33-27 lead at the break.
In the second half FIU battled back and took a five-point lead with just under eight minutes remaining, but Western Kentucky also had some fight left and ended up capturing the four-point win.
In a game that saw 10 ties and seven lead changes, the Hilltoppers outscored FIU on the perimeter by a 30-15 margin.
With the win the Hilltoppers move on to the quarterfinals on Sunday night and will challenge second-seeded Arkansas-Little Rock in this same building.Game Notes