MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Perrin Buford continued his recent turnaround with an explosive performance against Northern Arizona, leading the Blue Raiders to a 65-53 win and second-straight victory in the Emerald Coast Classic.
Buford dropped a career-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting in only 21 minutes. In Middle Tennessee’s first matchup in the Emerald Coast Classic against Southern University, Buford was 4-of-5 shooting for nine points.
Before those two recent outings against Northern Arizona and Southern, Buford was a combined 1-of-9 from the floor, registering a combined 11 points in the Blue Raiders’ first two games against Ohio Valley and Murray State.
Middle Tennessee (3-1) proved to have their most efficient night offensively, shooting a season-high 45.3 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from three-point range.
Reggie Upshaw was 3-of-13 from the floor but still posted 12 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Seniors Marcus Tarrance and Jacquez Rozier each posted 10 points to round out Middle Tennessee’s double-digit scorers.
Edward Simpson continued his recent string of hot shooting, tallying nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from three-point territory. The freshman guard has a combined 26 points in 63 total minutes in his last three games, and has not shot below 50 percent during that span.
The Blue Raiders outscored the Lumberjacks 34-24 in points in the paint, while turning the ball over a season-low eight times.
Northern Arizona (1-4) shot 39.2 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from three-point range.
The Lumberjacks were led by Kris Yanku’s 15-point outing. Aaseem Dixon posted 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting and Jaleni Neely added 10 points.
The Blue Raiders will continue play in the Emerald Coast Classic as they travel to Niceville, Florida for a matchup against the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bearcats defeated Middle Tennessee 69-48 in last season’s contest between the schools.
Tip off for the game is set for 5 p.m. CT.
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