Sun Belt Conference Tournament Recaps
(Saturday, March 9th)
Final Score: FIU 69, Arkansas-Little Rock 54
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Malik Smith poured in 25 points as the fourth-seed FIU Panthers defeated the fifth-seed Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans, 69-54, in a Sun Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinal matchup at the Convention Center.
Deric Hill had 12 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals while Tymell Murphy added 12 points of his own for FIU (18-12) which advances to take on top seed Middle Tennessee in Sunday's semifinals.
John Gillon scored 16 points off the bench, Leroy Isler tallied 13 points and Will Neighbour had 10 rebounds for UALR (17-15).
At the end of the first half FIU led 34-26 after hitting 46.4 percent of its attempts from the field while notching eight shots from beyond the arc. UALR remained within striking distance despite shooting 27.3 percent from the field by netting 13-of-15 from the free-throw line.
After the break the Panthers shot at a 47.6 percent clip while the Trojans were at 33.3 percent. The Panthers also had the edge from the free-throw line where they went 12-of-19 to pull away for the win in the last 20 minutes.
Both teams turned the ball over 21 times but FIU had a 29-17 advantage in points off turnovers.
Final Score: Middle Tennessee 81, Louisiana 66
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Bruce Massey scored 15 points as the top- seed Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders routed the eighth-seed Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, 81-66, to move on in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Summit Arena.
Raymond Cintron added 12 points and James Gallman had 11 for Middle Tennessee (28-4) which takes on FIU in Sunday's semifinal round.
Alan-Michael Thompson scored 17 points, Elfrid Payton tacked on 15, Bryant Mbamalu added 14 and Shawn Long chipped in 10 for Louisiana (13-20).
In the first half the Blue Raiders shot 51.9 percent from the field to take a 39-33 lead into the break. The Ragin' Cajuns connected on 45.5 percent from the field.
After the break the Blue Raiders nailed 21-of-26 shots from the free-throw line and shot 45 percent from the field to pull away for the win.
Middle Tennessee had a 36-27 edge in rebounds while outscoring Louisiana, 17-10, in points off turnovers.
03/10 00:01:36 ET