By Connor Ulrey//Contributing Writer
Middle Tennessee Blue Raider men (5-4) earned their second straight road win Saturday in Akron, beating the Zips (6-3) 62-61.
The Blue Raider bench was the key to victory as they were pivotal to the 37-32 halftime lead. Twenty-six of the 37 points came from the bench, including 10 from Edward Simpson Jr., tying his career high. Reggie Upshaw scored nine of his game-high 17 in the first half.
The Blue Raiders shot well from the field Saturday, finishing at 55 percent and they shot 50 percent from three-point range.
The first half was sparked by a 16-2 Blue Raider run that led to a 31-22 lead heading into the final media timeout of the half, and then continued to their five point halftime lead.
From the beginning of the second half, Akron came out strong, and cut the lead to as low as three, much to the chagrin of the Blue Raiders who continued to try to extend their lead.
The Blue Raiders led 60-50 when the Zips made their last big push to tie the game at 61. A timely late free throw by Jacquez Rozier gave Middle Tennessee a 62-61 lead and thanks to a big defensive stop in the last 11 seconds, they secured the road victory. It was the first home loss of the season for Akron.
Rozier finished with 13 points and four boards, and shot an astounding 86 percent from the field.
The Blue Raiders are back in action on the road again in a nationally televised contest against Oklahoma State on Dec. 16. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
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