Photos by Darwin Moore / MTSU Sidelines
Sports Editor Tyler Lamb contributed to this article
On a night where the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (27-4, 17-1) handily defeated the FAU Owls (10-19, 6-12) by a score of 93-59, the biggest surprise occurred off the court in the form of senior Reggie Upshaw’s little brother Gage.
Gage is currently enrolled at the United States Air Force Academy and it was clear that his appearance was as unexpected as it gets. As his brother was being honored as a part of the Blue Raiders Senior Night, Gage walked up behind him and what followed was a sight to behold. Almost in disbelief, the Middle Tennessee forward emotionally embraced his younger brother before the festivities continued.
— MT Athletics (@MTAthletics) March 5, 2017
Reggie said after the win that, despite not liking surprises, he was incredibly happy to see his brother.
“To see him fly in from being at school and I haven’t seen him since Christmas, it was a special moment,” Reggie said. “I’m glad he could make it.”
The whole surprise was planned by the team, with all of Reggie’s teammates being in on it. Below is another shot of the surprise that gives you a sense of how staged the the sequence of events were planned out.
— Pete Adams (@peteadams615) March 5, 2017
Head Coach Kermit Davis believed that Reggie had figured it out, but was relieved to see the planning come to fruition.
“He absolutely didn’t know. His mom and dad did a great job,” Davis said after the game. “Reggie was touched…that’s just great raw emotion in front of 9,000 people. That’s just as good as it gets.”
Following the team’s dominant victory, MTSU sits high atop the Conference USA standings with a quality resume. Even with all that in mind, the team is still just as focused as last year when they needed to win the conference tournament.
“We really want to win the conference tournament. We don’t want to leave any doubt,” Senior JaCorey Williams said. “We are going to approach the conference tournament as if we have to win it, because Selection Sunday isn’t here yet…everything is predictions.”
The Blue Raiders first game in the tournament will be on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. against the winner of the UTSA-WKU game on Wednesday.