March 03, 2016

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) Perrin Buford scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Middle Tennessee moved closer to nailing down a top four seed into the Conference USA tournament by romping past Florida Atlantic in the second half to post a 76-59 victory Thursday night.

The Blue Raiders entered the game in a three-way tie for second with Louisiana Tech and Marshall. The Thundering Herd fell out of the tie after losing to Louisiana Tech on Thursday, 97-94. Middle Tennessee, which lost to Louisiana Tech on Feb. 11, can clinch the No. 3 seed with a win at Florida International in its regular season finale Saturday.

Middle Tennessee took a four-point lead at intermission, but kicked it into high gear over the final 20 minutes to outscore the Owls, 38-25.

Reggie Upshaw had 14 points for the Blue Raiders (20-9, 12-5).

Adonis Filer finished with 16 points and eight rebounds to lead Florida Atlantic (7-23, 5-12).

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