By Ryan Nelson (@TheRyanNelson_)
Middle Tennessee (12-3, 2-0) made a statement on the road on Thursday night in an 80-77 win over fellow Conference USA heavyweight Rice (11-5,1-2). A host of MT playmakers carried the Blue Raiders to victory.
F Reggie Upshaw, Conference USA’s Player of the Week, finished with 20 points and seven boards in the game. MT F JaCorey Williams, who leads the Blue Raiders in scoring with 17.4 points per game, dropped 19 points on the Owls and snagged seven rebounds on the night.
MT G Giddy Potts contributed 17 points of his own in Tudor Fieldhouse. Potts hit a three-pointer just before halftime to trim Rice’s lead to 38-34. The Blue Raiders shot 50 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from three-point range.
The most impressive offensive performance of the night came in a losing effort from Rice G Egor Koulechov. The junior finished with a double-double -- 31 points, and 14 rebounds.
The only other Owl in double figures was G Marcus Evans, who had 23 points and five boards. Evans banked in a three just before the end of regulation. The Owls tried to get a shot off with :0.9 left in regulation, but were successful.
The Blue Raiders continue their tour of Texas when they make their way to Denton to take on the North Texas Mean Green this Saturday (1/7). The Owls will be back in action on Jan. 7 as well when they host UAB.