By Rickey Fuquay, Jr.//Contributing Writer
Despite a strong second half performance, Reggie Upshaw and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (13-11, 6-5 C-USA) fell to Louisiana Tech (18-6, 9-2 C-USA), 62-73.
It was a rocky start from the beginning at the Murphy Center as the Blue Raiders found themselves in an early five-point hole with 14:20 left in the first half. However, MT would eventually get it together, tying the game at 19 with 5:31 left in the first half. The Bulldogs responded with a 14-2 run to take the lead at halftime, 33-21.
The Bulldogs started the second half, taking their biggest lead of the game, thanks to a three-pointer by freshman Xavian Stapleton. The Blue Raiders attempted a comeback, cutting the deficit to as many as five points with 9:47 left in the second half thanks to a Jaqawn Raymond three-pointer. The Bulldogs would ultimately end the game on a 21-15 run, escaping a late rally by the Blue Raiders.
Giveaways were the Blue Raiders Achilles heel, as the Bulldogs forced 15 turnovers on the game.
“That was a huge part of the whole overall game,” sophomore forward Reggie Upshaw said afterward. “Anytime you play a team like Louisiana Tech, you’ve got to limit your turnovers.”
Upshaw led the team with 21 points along with six rebounds on 7-of-11, while also hitting three shots from beyond the arc.
Also in double figures was senior Marcus Tarrance, who tallied 14 points off the bench on 5-of-9 shooting.
The Bulldogs finished with four players in double figures. Stapleton led the team with 18 points along with four rebounds, two blocks and four steals.
Junior Alex Hamilton tallied 16 points along with three rebounds and five assists on 4-of-10 shooting from the field. Senior Michale Kyser recorded 12 along with 11 rebounds and three blocks, while fellow upperclassman Raheem Appleby finished with 15 points of his own.
The Blue Raiders will look to get back on track, when they travel to Houston, Texas for a Thursday night matchup against the Owls of Rice. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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