Middle Tennessee beats FAU 76-59; can clinch No. 3 seed

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).

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.