HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – T.J. Price scored 24 points, including a layup with 19 seconds to play, and Western Kentucky defeated Arkansas State 58-56 Sunday night in the Sun Belt Conference tournament semifinals.
The sixth-seeded Hilltoppers (19-15) will play FIU for the Sun Belt championship Monday night. The fourth-seeded Golden Panthers upset regular-season champion Middle Tennessee State 61-57 earlier Sunday.
Western Kentucky, the winner of last season's tournament as the seventh seed, led most of the way. The second-seeded Red Wolves (19-12) used an 18-9 run to lead 53-51 with 4 minutes remaining. It was 56-55 ASU when Price stole the ball and went the length of the court for what became the winning layup.
Jamal Crook, whose late steal and basket helped the Hilltoppers beat South Alabama on Saturday, made a free throw with 13 seconds left to complete the scoring.
Brandon Peterson had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Arkansas State.