Story by Reggie Johnson/ Contributing Writer
MTSU men’s basketball unleashed a barrage of 3-pointers to secure a wire-to-wire 81-46 victory over the Rice Owls.
Head coach Nick McDevitt felt humbled and was content with his team’s execution tonight.
“I thought it was a complete game,” McDevitt said. “For this team and going back over the last several weeks, you could see the potential for putting together a game we did today. But we hadn’t done it on both sides of the ball.”
The Blue Raiders got off to a slow start offensively in the first. Their first basket didn’t come until 15:57 left in the first half. During the huddle, McDevitt motivated his team not to be discouraged and upset with missing shots.
“We kept saying don’t look at the scoreboard, just play the game the right way,” McDevitt said. “No matter if you’re down, if it’s tied, or if you’re ahead. I thought we weren’t scoring or making shots at the beginning, but they had two. So we weren’t letting the ball not going in the basket affect how we were playing.”
After the timeout, Middle Tennessee went on a 14-point scoring run to take a 44-18 lead into the halftime break.
As the second half progressed, MTSU led by as many as 46 points.
The Blue Raiders finished 29-56 from the field and 13-26 from beyond the arc.
Four Blue Raiders finished in double-digit scoring, led by Eli Lawrence with 16.
Lawrence felt like the team’s loss Saturday contributed to their success against Rice.
“When we played Saturday, spacing was a problem,” Lawrence said. “So over the last few days, we just worked on spacing, really screening bodies, getting people open. Running our offense the way we’re really supposed to run it.”