Potts, Blue Raiders hold off late Mocs rally

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee returned home for the first time since a Nov. 25 contest against Northern Arizona, fending off a late rally by Chattanooga to pick up a 68-58 victory Friday night at the Murphy Center.

Freshman guard Giddy Potts led the way for the Blue Raiders (6-5) with a career-high 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range.

Potts had only 15 total points on the season entering Friday night’s game.

“He can shoot, he’s a confident shooter,” MTSU head coach Kermit Davis said. “A lot of freshmen go through different periods of time, but I thought he was exceptional tonight. He made that big three (pointer) at the end of the shot clock that pushed the lead to ten. I’m really proud of what Giddy did tonight.”

The Blue Raiders had a decent offensive night after shooting 48.9 percent (23-of-47) from the field and 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from three-point range.

MTSU proved to have a solid night at the charity stripe as well, converting 88.2 percent (15-of-17) of their free throws.

Sophomore and Chattanooga native Reggie Upshaw finished with 11 points and four rebounds off the bench. Junior Darnell Harris added 10 points and four rebounds.

Defensively, the Blue Raiders held Chattanooga to 30 percent (9-of-30) shooting in the first half. The Mocs had a strong second-half offensive performance, shooting 55.2 percent (16-of-29) from the floor.

Chattanooga (6-6) was led by Greg Pryor’s game-high 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Casey Jones added 10 points to round out the Mocs’ double-digit scorers.

Early on, the Blue Raiders used solid ball movement in a back-and-forth first half to gain a 10-point lead at the 4:18 mark. The first half saw four lead changes up until that point.

MTSU would hold a double-digit advantage through a good majority of the second half, leading by as much as 16 at the 6:55 mark.

With the help of multiple Blue Raider turnovers, the Mocs were able to cut the MTSU lead to five after going on an 11-0 run.

Middle Tennessee would use a game-sealing 9-4 run in the last four minutes, capped off by a Giddy Potts three-pointer at the 1:09 mark to give the Blue Raiders the double-digit win.

MTSU will remain at home to take on Tennessee State Sunday afternoon. Tip off is set for 2 p.m. CT.


Up-Tempo Points:

– Reggie Upshaw battled through a lower back injury that he sustained early in the first half. Upshaw went to the locker room and later returned. Coach Davis said he was also dehydrated, but Upshaw finished with 11 points in the game. Upshaw believes he will be ready for MTSU’s next matchup against Tennessee State on Sunday.

– Freshman guard Jacob Ivory suffered a fall against Oklahoma State that made him dizzy. Ivory started Friday night’s contest, but later went to the locker room after feeling dizzy again. Ivory returned to the bench before returning to the locker room again for the remainder of the game to be re-evaluated.

– Junior transfer Perrin Buford did not see any playing time for the first time this season. Buford had previously started in five games, averaging 5.2 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game.

– MTSU head coach Kermit Davis is now 6-0 this season when scoring 60 points or more.

– The Blue Raiders bench has averaged 24.5 points per game this season. Friday night, MTSU outscored the Mocs 38 to 21 in bench points.

– Kermit Davis is now 12 wins shy of his 250th career win at Middle Tennessee. Davis is the only coach in program history with 200 or more wins.

For more Blue Raider Sports, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Sport

To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email sports@mtsusidelines.com

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