MURFREESBORO - Kerry Hammonds' jumper with 40 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders defeated the Ole Miss Rebels, 65-62, at Murphy Center.
The win was MT's fifth in the last six games and fourth in a row against Ole Miss. The Blue Raiders handed the Rebels (6-1) their first loss of the season while MT (7-2) remained undefeated on its home court this year at 4-0.
“It was a good win for us, especially against a team like Ole Miss with such a good RPI,” Middle Tennessee Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “Ole Miss is a quality team and it is going to win a lot of games in the SEC.”
Marcos Knight led the Blue Raiders with 14 points, his eighth straight game in double-figures. Raymond Cintron added 10 points, making 3-of-4 three-pointers. The Blue Raiders scored 23 points off 18 Ole Miss turnovers and outscored the Rebels 32-30 in the paint. The Rebels entered the contest leading the country with a +9.0 turnover margin, but MT owned a +4.0 advantage in the game.
MT erased a six-point Ole Miss lead early in the first half, when Marcos Knight and Tweety Knight combined for seven straight points to take a 14-13 lead with 12:03 remaining in the half. The Blue Raiders led by as much as seven points in the first half before taking a 33-29 lead at halftime.
The Rebels used an 11-4 run to start the second half, taking a 40-37 lead with 16:44 to play. MT answered with a 10-2 run to go ahead 47-42. The Blue Raiders led by seven, 59-52, with 3:45 to play before Ole Miss went on a 7-0 run to tie the game 59-59 with 2:08 to play. Hammonds then broke the tie with his basket from the corner with 40 seconds left. JT Sulton and Bruce Massey each converted a free throw to make it a four-point cushion before Jarvis Summers knocked down a triple with 1.7 seconds remaining. Cintron knocked down a free throw at the opposite end with 0.9 to go and the Rebels turned the ball over on the in-bounds pass to seal the Blue Raider win.
Four Rebels scored double-figures, led by Marshall Henderson with 17. Murphy Holloway and Nick Williams each had 11 and Reginald Buckner added 10.