Categorized | MTSU Basketball

Harris helps MT to big win over FAU

Posted on 10 January 2015 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee won its second straight conference game in convincing fashion Saturday night, topping Florida Atlantic 82-58 at the Murphy Center.

The Blue Raiders led wire-to-wire and went up as much as 30 in the second half. A Darnell Harris three-pointer at the 15:03 mark ignited a 17-0 run to put the game out of reach.

Harris poured in a career-high 24 points and became the first Blue Raider to eclipse 20 in a game this season. The junior shot 75 percent from the field (9-of-12) and grabbed six rebounds while leading the offensive attack.

“We’re proud of Darnell, we could just see his improvement over the last couple weeks,” said head coach Kermit Davis.

Middle Tennessee (9-7, 2-1 C-USA) notched 80 points for the first time in 16 games, while the victory became the third occasion that saw four Raiders reach double figures in the scoring column. Perrin Buford, Reggie Upshaw and Marcus Tarrance each recorded 12 points.

Rebounding became the major factor, as Middle Tennessee dominated FAU 39-19 on the glass. The visitors entered the matchup averaging over nine offensive boards a game, but MT shut the Owls out and outscored them 21-0 on second-chance opportunities.

The Blue Raiders remain unbeaten when scoring at least 60 points (9-0), while tallying the two highest scoring outputs in half this season.

Middle Tennessee built a nine-point lead and led FAU 22-13 halfway through the first period. The Blue Raiders made seven of their first 14 attempts from the field, as junior Harris recorded eight points through the opening 10 minutes.

Harris finished with 12 points at the break, as MT recorded its highest point total in a half this season with a 42-34 advantage. Both teams shot over 50 percent and FAU did most of its damage from beyond the arc with four 3-pointers. However, MT took advantage of free opportunities by going 12-of-13 from the charity stripe.

The Blue Raiders finished with the team’s highest free-throw percentage in a C-USA contest after going an impressive 92 percent (24-of-26) from the line.
Solomon Poole scored 17 points to lead the Owls (7-7, 0-3 C-USA).

“We’re back in the mix,” added Davis. “That’s all you want to do after a big weekend for everybody in our league.”

Middle Tennessee will play its conference road opener at Southern Miss next Thursday, Jan. 15. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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Scores

Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24

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