Potts lifts MTSU to victory in first round of Music City Challenge

Giddy Potts handles the ball in thrilling 67-66 win over FIU at the Murphy Center on February 6, 2016. (MTSU Sidelines/Meagan White)

Photo by Meagan White / Sidelines Archive

Kermit Davis and Middle Tennessee (4-1) came into the Music City Challenge against UNC Wilmington (3-1) looking to improve on their 61-percent free-throw season average. Despite failing to complete the task, the team was able to pull out the win behind a crucial Giddy Potts three pointer within the final seconds.

Tied 61-61 with 0:43 seconds left and the shot clock down to two seconds, Potts spotted up a 30-foot three with a defender in his face to give to push his team ahead and the eventual win, 68-63.

“Finally out of the slump,” said Potts. “I’ve been going through a rough time. I’ve been trying to make some tough shots just to get me rolling.”

The three-point specialist showed his versatility in other areas throughout the night, leading the team in three statistical categories. Potts ended with 22 points, seven rebounds, and a career-high eight assists.

“I’ve been basically doing that the last couple of games, but my scoring brought all of it out,” said Potts. “Coach always told me I can effect the game in a lot of other ways than scoring.

The win tonight over Wilmington handed the Seahawks their first loss of the season.

“We beat a really tough team that’s built to win,” said head coach Kermit Davis. “They made some unbelievable plays down the stretch. I just thought it was two really good, tough defensive teams that caused some turnovers both ways. We have to get our free throw shooting figured out. Its one of those things right now, we have to do a better job.”

On the night, MTSU shot 60 percent from the field and UNCW shot just 33 percent. The Blue Raiders shot 40 times while the Seahawks shot 62 times. But even with all of that, the game went down to the very end.

MTSU started out 2-for-12 from the charity stripe, immediately put themselves in  a hole. The Seahawks, however, only shot 8-for-28 from the field in the first half, but their 8-of-9 shooting from the line kept them in the game and only down six points at halftime, 35-29.

Middle Tennessee was just 6-of-18 from the stripe going into halftime.

The team found their nitch after the break, totaling 10-of-14 for 71.4 percent in the final 20 minutes.

JaCorey Williams was the catalyst all night and sparked MTSU in the first half when they needed it the most. He went into halftime with 14 and finished the night shooting 8-for-12 for 16 points to go along with five rebounds.

Reggie Upshaw was caught in foul trouble early on but finished the night with 12 points.

MTSU is back tomorrow for night two of the Music City Challenge when they face Toledo inside the Municipal Auditorium at 7:30.

For more sports stories, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Sport.

To contact Sports Editor Tyler Lamb (@Tlamb35), email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

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