MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- Desmond Yates scored 19 points and Nigel Johnson made a key 3-pointer to give Middle Tennessee a 65-59 win over Troy in the Sun Belt Conference tournament quarterfinals on Sunday.
Kevin Kanaskie and Demetrius Green each scored 17 points for the Blue Raiders (16-14), who advance to meet top-seeded South Alabama Monday night.Johnson's only basket gave Middle Tennessee a 63-59 lead with a minute left and Troy (12-19) couldn't score after that. Green hit 2-of-4 free throws down the stretch to push the game out of reach.Kanaskie made 5-of-10 3-pointers for Middle Tennessee, which made 22-of-42 shots. Johnson only scored three points, but he also collected nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals.O'Darien Bassett led Troy with 17 points while Justin Jonus and Michael Vogler scored 15 apiece.The Trojans made just 14-of-33 field goals, but kept it close at the free throw line. Troy missed only one of 25 attempts from the line, including Bassett's 10-for-10 performance.Middle Tennessee had swept the two regular-season meetings, including an 81-58 rout in the finale. Troy made this one much more competitive.The Blue Raiders went into the half down 35-33 after a basket by Bassett with three seconds left.