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Middle Tennessee State's Three Point Barrage Dumps Marshall 83-74 On Senior Night

The Raiders stole a page from the Herd's playbook to torch the nets in the first half while leaving the visitors in a cloud of dust.

James Kelly (24) hammers home a dunk for Marshall.
James Kelly (24) hammers home a dunk for Marshall.
Falecia Collier/Collier Photography

Four players finished in double-figures for Middle Tennessee State Saturday night in Murfreesboro as the Blue Raiders dumped Marshall 83-74 on Senior night. MTSU shot 52.4 percent (11-21) from beyond the arc including a 66.7 percent (8-12) clip in the first half.

Playing without leading scorer Giddy Potts, Perrin Buford led the assault with a game-high 21 points. Darnell Harris netted 18; Reggie Upshaw added 14 points and nine rebounds and Aldonis Foote had 10.

MTSU (19-9, 11-5) jumped on Marshall (15-14, 11-5) early for a 9-2 lead behind triples by Harris and Simpson. Marshall answered with a 5-0 run by Austin Loop and Jon Elmore to pull the Herd to within two before the Raiders ignited the nets from downtown.

Back-to-back Harris treys pushed the Raiders lead to 22-12 with 13:21 to go in the half. James Kelly cut the deficit to 24-19 near the midway point of the half but a 7-0 run sparked by Buford ran the lead to 12.

Terrance Thompson trimmed the lead to 37-32 with 3:35 remaining in the half only to have MTSU close the half on a 12-2 run for a 49-34 lead at the break. The Raiders' run included two more triples while holding Marshall scoreless for the final 2:56 of the half.

Ryan Taylor spent much of the first half on the bench for the Herd after picking up his second foul with 12 minutes remaining forcing Marshall head coach Dan D'Antoni to his bench.

Harris shot a perfect 3-3 from long range in the half and Simpson connected on 3-4 of his attempts. Both players had nine at the break with Buford leading the way with 10.

Aldonis gave MTSU its largest lead of the night, 56-40, after draining a triple with 17:27 to go, but Marshall was poised to make a run at the Raiders. A barrage of Marshall triples by Loop and Kelly added with Taylor getting to the rim allowed Marshall to rack up a 16-0 run in a little over four minutes to square the event at 56-56.

Another Kelly triple gave Marshall its first and only lead of the night, 61-59 with 8:23 left in the game. Buford knotted the game for the final time on the night at 63-63 one minute later as the teams seesawed for the win.

C.J Burks pulled Marshall to within two with 5:11 to go, but MTSU dispatched any final Herd hopes of a comeback with an 8-0 run capped by Upshaw's second 3-pointer of the night.

MTSU avenged its 82-66 defeat to Marshall early this season in Huntington while holding the Herd winless in Murfreesboro in five attempts.

Kelly led the Herd with 21 points and 14 rebounds in a game-high 40 minutes of action. Elmore added 18 points and Taylor netted 12 before fouling out just under the five minute mark.

The Raiders won the war on the glass 36-27 while holding the Herd to 29.2 percent (7-24) from long range.

With the win, MTSU pulls into a second place tie with Marshall with two games remaining in the regular season. Marshall closes the regular season with games Thursday and Saturday against La. Tech and Southern Miss respectively. MTSU travels to FAU and FIU on the same dates.