BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) DJ Jones came off the bench to score 17 points and sixth-seeded Middle Tennessee beat second-seeded UTEP 53-50 on Friday to notch its third consecutive victory in the Conference USA tournament and advance to the finals.
On Saturday, the Blue Raiders (19-15), who have won four straight games for the first time this season, will play No. 4 seed UAB. Middle Tennessee will be going after its first conference tournament title since 1989.
The Blue Raiders used three straight 3-pointers, including two by Jones, in an 11-0 run that gave them a 42-35 lead with 6:40 remaining. The Miners got within two points three times after that, the final time at 52-50 on a basket by Earvin Morris with 14 seconds left. But Darnell Harris hit 1 of 2 free throws with 11 seconds left before UTEP missed two 3-point attempts.
Perrin Buford and Reggie Upshaw added 10 points each for the Blue Raiders.
Cedrick Lang had 14 points and Julian Washburn 12 for the Miners (22-10) with Vince Hunter grabbing 14 rebounds.