Middle Tennessee runs past UTSA, 80-58
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee opened the game with a 16-3 run and never trailed in an 80-58 victory against UTSA on Saturday evening at the Murphy Center.
Devon Agusi led the Roadrunners (6-11, 2-2 C-USA) with 18 points for his sixth consecutive game in double-figures. Kaj-Björn Sherman added 12 points off the bench for his highest output since a season-high 16 points against Huston-Tillotson (Dec. 4), while Jordan Sims chipped in 11 points.
UTSA was limited to 33.3 percent shooting in the contest and connected on 21 of its 27 attempts from the free-throw line. He went 6-of-9 from the floor, 5-of-7 from behind the arc and hit both of his free throw attempts.
Meanwhile, Kerry Hammonds scored a game-high 19 points for the Blue Raiders (12-6, 2-1 C-USA), who improved to 25-2 at home in their last 27 home games.
Marcus Tarrance came off the bench to add 16 points, while Reggie Upshaw finished with 12 points. Middle Tennessee shot 47.4 percent and scored 26 points off 16 UTSA turnovers.
The Blue Raiders took control early with their 16-3 run to start the contest. UTSA struggled from the field in that span, hitting just one of its first 10 shots and committing six turnovers.
Hammonds had five of his 11 first-half points during the spurt, which saw the home squad jump out to a 13-0 lead before Sims put the Roadrunners on the board with a 3-pointer.
The Roadrunners cut the deficit to single digits, 16-8, at the charity stripe. Tyler Wood hit a free throw before Agusi hit four consecutive at the line.
However, the Blue Raiders outscored UTSA 19-8 over the next 6:20 for a 35-16 cushion with just under three minutes to play in the half.
The Birds scored seven consecutive points, including a three-point play from Agusi, before a pair of Shawn Jones free throws made for a 37-23 score at halftime. UTSA did not allow a basket over the final 2:55, but could only shave five points off its largest deficit of the stanza.
Much like they started the first half, Middle Tennessee opened the final frame on a 14-3 run to push the lead to 51-26. The Blue Raiders scored the first 12 points of the period before Sherman’s three-point play.
Later in the half, Middle Tennessee put together a 17-2 run for its largest lead of the evening, 76-38, with 6:52 to play.
From there, the Roadrunners outscored the Blue Raiders 20-4, including a 16-0 run to close the game, en route to the 80-58 final.
The Roadrunners will be back in action next Saturday, Jan. 25, when they conclude their three-game road trip with a 3 p.m. (CT) contest at UTEP (12-6, 2-1 C-USA).