The 2015–16 Blue Raiders men’s basketball campaign has come to its first break, and it has been a fast start for Middle.
While MT did drop its season-opener, an 11-point loss at Murray State, they went on to go undefeated through the rest of their November schedule. The Blue Raiders won their next game at TSU, and then traveled to Anchorage where they were named champions of the Great Alaskan Shootout.
Riding high on their four-game win streak, MT hosted VCU in their home-opener. The Rams have gotten off to a strong start themselves, as they came into Murphy Center with a 4–2 record. Their only two losses were to Duke by eight points, which was actually an even closer game than the score suggests, and to Wisconsin by one point.
It was a back-and-forth game for the bulk of the Dec. 2 contest. With just under seven minutes remaining, MT held a five-point lead. However, VCU capitalized on a number of blunderous MT turnovers and gained the lead with five minutes remaining. The Rams went on to claim the victory 62–56.
Considering the early season resume for VCU, this could be considered a quality loss for MT. While players and coaches never want to recognize any loss as a moral victory, MT forward Reggie Upshaw, who recorded the team’s first double-double of the season (15 points, 12 rebounds), wasn’t too downtrodden after the game.
“We came into the game thinking we could win . . . but seeing how they played against Duke and Wisconsin, and seeing how we played against them tonight, kind of shows what our team is about, and, no matter who it is, we’ll come every night ready to play,” said Upshaw.
Three days later, MT hosted South Alabama and, true to Upshaw’s statement, they certainly proved that they were ready to play. MT trailed in the game for only a total of 51 seconds, and went on to win the game by 13 points. Senior forward Darnell Harris and sophomore guard Giddy Potts stood out, as Harris dropped 20 points and Potts scored a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Potts is the first MT guard to score a double-double in points and rebounds since Marcos Knight did it in the 2013 C-USA tournament against Florida International.
The Blue Raiders will get back at it Saturday, Dec. 12, as they will play Auburn at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at Noon. This game will be followed by a Dec. 17 home game versus Belmont, and a Dec. 22 away game against last season’s NCAA Tournament Cinderella squad, Georgia State.
For tickets and more information on Blue Raider athletics, visit goblueraiders.com.