WKU falls at FIU 87-82

Lucas Aulbach

WKU’s struggles continued in Miami Saturday night.

The Toppers put points on the board but let the Panthers put up a few too many, falling 87-82 against upstart FIU.

WKU (13-14, 7-9 Sun Belt Conference) beat FIU earlier this season, but couldn’t duplicate that result Saturday. That win over the Panthers is WKU’s only win of the year against a team with a winning record.

The Toppers earned that win in December with senior guard Jamal Crook on the sideline with a broken foot. Sophomore guard Kevin Kaspar, who had six points and four assists Saturday, said the fact that Crook was on the court showed how much the Panthers, who have won nine of their last 10 home games, have improved.

“Tonight we had Jamal and that shows FIU got better in that time,” Kaspar said.

The loss Saturday mirrored the loss Thursday against Florida Atlantic. Despite good shooting numbers, WKU gave up over 80 points in each game.

Coach Ray Harper said defense was the reason the Toppers are coming away from this trip empty-handed.

“Both teams on this trip lit us up,” he said “We’ve given up 80 points once this season then we give it up in back to back games.”

Kaspar said said the Toppers will work on defending in practice this week.

“We’ve got to guard better,” Kaspar said. “That’s on us and what were going to do on Monday is get better and get ready for Thursday.”

The Toppers needed a furious comeback to get the scoring margin to within five as time expired. WKU trailed the entire second half after trading leads with the Panthers eight times in the first half.

WKU will attempt to snap this three-game losing streak back at Diddle Arena Thursday against Lousiana-Monroe.

Harper said the Toppers have a lot of work to do in practice in preparation for the Warhawks.

“Monday we’ve got to get some things corrected and its not one thing in particular – it’s several things,” he said.