Recap: FIU vs. Ark-Little Rock
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.Game Notes