By Rickey Fuquay, Jr.//Contributing Writer
Despite some late game heroics, Middle Tennessee (13-10, 6-4 C-USA) managed to hang on for a 61-51 win over Southern Mississippi (6-15, 1-9 C-USA).
It was a strong start on offense from the beginning as the Blue Raiders used an 8-3 run to take a 21-11 lead with 7:49 left in the first half.
MTSU eventually increased its biggest lead of the first half to 11 points with 2:28 left after two Middle Tennessee three-pointers.
The Blue Raiders went on to take a 33-23 lead at the half.
The Blue Raiders took a 13-point lead with 18:18 left in the second half, thanks to a three-pointer by junior Jaqawn Raymond.
The Golden Eagles mounted a comeback and cut the deficit to seven with 15:08 left in the second half after a 6-0 run. The Blue Raiders went on to take a 12-point lead with 9:53 left in the second half after a 10-6 run.
Southern Miss never went down, scrapping with the Blue Raiders after managing to cut the deficit to seven with 3:34 left in the second half.
Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch sealed the deal as the Blue Raiders shot 9-of-10 from the charity stripe to hang on for the 61-51 win.
Senior Marcus Tarrance led the team off the bench with 15 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
“Any win is a good win,” Tarrance said about the Southern Miss comeback attempt. “It’s really the best route to first place. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Also in double figures was freshman Giddy Potts, who tallied 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field, with three of his shots coming from the three-point line.
For the Golden Eagles, Chip Armelin led the way with 21 points along with six rebounds. Norville Carey was the only other Southern Miss player to score in double-digits, tallying 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field.
The Blue Raiders will look to put together two straight wins as they host Louisiana Tech Feb. 7. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CST on the American Sports Network.
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