|Middle Tennessee rode a big halftime advantage to a 15-point win against Ole Miss Wednesday, leading the Rebels from wire-to-wire at The Pavilion at Ole Miss en route to a 77-62 win.
The Rebels made a run at the Blue Raiders in the second half before MT was able to ice the contest at the free throw line, going 7-for-7 from the stripe inside the final four minutes to put away the Rebels.
“I’ve been coaching a long time and we had about as good of a half as you can play in the first half,” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “We just made shots and our ball movement was terrific.
“In the second half I don’t think we didn’t anything wrong, [Ole Miss Head Coach] Andy [Kennedy]’s team just really competed to get back in that game.”
Middle shot 83.3 percent from the line on the night, 48.3 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from 3-point range.
With a career-high eight assists on the night, senior forward Reggie Upshaw came just two dimes away from a triple-double as he logged 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Giddy Potts added 20 points and JaCorey Williams added 10 while Xavier Habersham and Aldonis Foote added eight apiece off the bench.
Middle Tennessee jumped out to a 16-1 lead, holding the Rebels without a field goal for the first 7:51 of the game before an Ole Miss 3-pointer made the score 16-4.
Middle stayed hot even as Ole Miss began to have shots fall, extending their lead to 16 with an Ed Simpson jumper at the 7:15 mark just before going into the under eight media timeout.
Following the media timeout, Xavier Habersham joined the action with a triple and drained a second one at the 3:55 mark to put the Raiders out to a commanding 40-17 lead.
Upshaw and Potts then went back-to-back from behind the arc while getting consecutive stops on the defensive end to give the Raiders a 29-point lead as halftime approached.
A pair of Ole Miss free throws followed by a Karl Gamble layup closed out the half with Middle on top 48-19, hitting 9-of-11 triples and holding Ole Miss to just 30 percent from the field.
It was Ole Miss that came out hot after the break, going on an 11-2 run in the first four minutes to make the score 50-29 in favor of the Raiders.
After Middle was able to get a few baskets to make the score 58-38, Ole Miss opened up a 9-0 run that nearly saw them claw their way back within single digits. The Raiders, however, clung to an 11-point lead at the under eight media timeout with a 62-51 lead at the 7:04 mark.
Ole Miss was finally able to climb back within single digits at the 4:36 mark after Cullen Neal drained a three, but Xavier Habersham slammed one home out of the timeout to stretch the lead back to 11.
It was all MT from that point on as the Blue Raiders outscored Ole Miss 11-5 down the stretch to close out the game and earn a 15-point road win in SEC country.
“This is going to be a great RPI win for us,” Davis added. “It’s very early in the season but that’s a really good RPI game for both of us.”
Middle Tennessee finishes a stretch of five straight games away from the Murphy Center Saturday when they take on South Alabama in Mobile at 7:05 p.m.