Raiders Ride Over Owls in Miami

Junior forward Jaqawn Raymond takes a shot against Southern Mississippi on Thursday, Feb. 6 in Murphy Center. (Greg French/MTSU Sidelines)

MIAMI, Fla. — Middle Tennessee (16-15, 9-9 CUSA) used a strong first half to secure their first road win in seven attempts, defeating FAU (9-20, 2-16 CUSA), 77-54.

The Blue Raiders entered Saturday’s contest looking to snap a six game road losing streak. In each of those contests, Middle Tennessee suffered from slow starts, and late game slumps. Saturday, the Blue Raiders started fast getting out by as much as eight points before the under-16 media timeout.

A pair of free throws by freshman Giddy Potts extended the Blue Raider lead to 13 at the 8:13 mark of the first half. The Blue Raiders would lead at the half, 38-21 after senior Jacquez Rozier sank a pair of free-throws with three seconds left.

The second half was a story of consistency for the Blue Raiders. MT kept the consistency from the first half, laying several scoring runs on the Owls. FAU would continually attempt to cut into Middle’s lead, but a Reggie Upshaw dunk extended the lead to 21 with just under eight minutes left.

Over the closing minutes of the game, the Owls never came gashed the 20-point lead. Jaqawn Raymond sank a jumper with less than three minutes left to give the Blue Raiders their largest lead at 26. The Blue Raiders defeated FAU, 77-54.

Reggie Upshaw led the Blue Raiders to victory, earning a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Jaqawn Raymond followed suit, finishing the game with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 4-for-4 at the line.

The Blue Raiders were strong offensively Saturday, finishing an efficient 27-of-51 from the field, shooting 52.9%.  FAU finished 21-of-49 from the field, shooting 42.9% in the game.

Middle Tennessee also put forth their best performance from the charity stripe all season Saturday, finishing 18-of-18 overall, compared to 6-of-10 by FAU.

MT also finished strong on the boards in the game, earning a 30-24 advantage in rebounds, including 22 offensive boards.

The Blue Raiders finish the regular season on a high note, earning a sixth seed heading into next week’s CUSA tournament.  Tournament play is scheduled to get underway Wednesday morning in Birmingham.

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