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.