HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- Deric Hill had 16 points and Malik Smith scored 14, including two late free throws, as Florida International upset top-seeded Middle Tennessee 61-57 in the Sun Belt Conference tournament semifinals Sunday night.
FIU led 33-24 at halftime and maintained the lead, though it was down to two points twice in the final seconds. Hill's layup with 12 seconds left and Smith's free throws with 7 seconds to go clinched it for the fourth-seeded Golden Panthers (18-13), who will play Western Kentucky in Monday's championship game.
Middle Tennessee (28-5) saw the nation's longest winning streak end at 17 games. The Blue Raiders, Sun Belt regular-season champions with a 19-1 record, will wait for a possible NCAA tournament at-large bid. They last qualified in 1989.