HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- Malik Smith hit eight 3-pointers and scored 25 points as Florida International defeated Arkansas-Little Rock 69-54 Saturday night in the second round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
Smith was 8 of 10 beyond the arc for the fourth-seeded Golden Panthers (17-13), who will face top-seeded Middle Tennessee in the semifinals on Sunday.Derric Hill added 12 points and seven assists for Florida International, and Tymell Murphy also scored 12.John Gillon led fifth-seeded Little Rock (17-15) with 16 points, and Leroy Isler had 13. The Trojans shot just 31 percent from the field, including 3 of 18 on 3-point attempts.Behind Smith's marksmanship, the Panthers finished 11 for 26 beyond the arc.Florida International jumped out to a 26-11 lead en route to a 34-26 halftime advantage. Little Rock got within 40-35 with 12:38 remaining, but Murphy hit two baskets and Smith followed with a 3 for a 47-35 lead as the Panthers pulled away for good.