Sun Belt Conference Tournament Recaps
(Sunday, March 10th)
Final Score: FIU 61, Middle Tennessee 57
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Deric Hill scored 16 points as the fourth- seed FIU Panthers upset the top-seed Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, 61-57, in the Sun Belt Conference semifinals at Summit Arena.
Cameron Bell added 15 points and Malik Smith tallied 14 for FIU (18-13) which will take on sixth-seed Western Kentucky in Monday's title game.
Shawn Jones tallied 17 points and Marcos Knight had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds for Middle Tennessee (28-5) which had just a single loss in conference play during the regular season.
FIU went into halftime leading 33-24 despite shooting 33.3 percent from the floor. Middle Tennessee trailed by collecting just eight field goals on 29.6 percent shooting.
After the break the Blue Raiders improved to 44.8 percent shooting but couldn't overcome the slow start as the Panthers netted 10-of-13 attempts from the free-throw line to hold on for the win.
FIU had a 24-14 edge in points off turnovers while outscoring the Blue Raiders 21-9 from beyond the arc.
Final Score: Western Kentucky 58, Arkansas State 56
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - T.J. Price scored a game-high 24 points and had the game-winning layup to lead the sixth-seed Western Kentucky Hilltoppers into the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title game with a 58-56 win over the second-seed Arkansas State Red Wolves in the semifinals at Summit Arena.
Brandon Harris added 11 points off the bench for Western Kentucky (19-15) which will take on fourth-seed FIU in Monday's championship game.
Trey Finn and Brandon Peterson each scored 10 points with Peterson also collecting 12 rebounds for Arkansas State (19-12).
At half the Hilltoppers had a slim 28-26 lead after shooting just 31.3 percent from the field while the Red Wolves recorded just eight field goals on 12 fewer shot attempts.
After the break the Hilltoppers shot at a 40 percent clip and hit 13-of-15 shots from the free-throw line but found themselves trailing 56-55 with under a minute to play. Price collected a steal with 19 seconds remaining and went the other way to sink a a layup that proved to be the deciding blow.
Arkansas State was guilty of a game-high 18 turnovers. Western Kentucky outscored the Red Wolves, 22-16, in the paint.
03/11 00:54:58 ET