1. There wasn’t much separation early in the first half until a 5-0 MTSU run pushed their lead out to 26-19, prompting Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy to call a timeout with 8:16 left in the half. The Rebels responded with an 11-2 run of their own, forcing Blue Raider head coach Kermit Davis to call a timeout of his own with 4:09 in the first half.
2. Both teams played a fairly even first half, with the Rebels going into the break up, 34-33. The only glaring stat was Blue Raiders leading scorer Nick King (24.1 PPG) being held to 2 points on 1-for-6 shooting.
3. Davis clearly made it an emphasis at halftime to get King the ball, as the senior big man scored 8 of the Blue Raiders first 12 points coming out of the break to take a, 43-36, lead at the first media timeout. King ended the night scoring 25, with 23 of those points coming in the second frame. King has now scored at least 2o points in every game, since scoring a season-low 17 against Trevecca in the season opener.
4. The game was still in doubt with 4:44 left, after the Rebels went on a 6-0 run to cut the Blue Raider lead to four, 60-56. From there, MTSU outscored the Rebels 17-2, running away with a, 77-58, victory and fifth straight win against an SEC opponent.
5. Last year, Middle was a more perimeter-oriented team. The departures of wing JaCorey Williams and stretch four Reggie Upshaw have allowed the Blue Raiders to shift into a team more focused on scoring in the paint. The combination of King and senior center center Brandon Walters has allowed Davis’ team to make that shift, while continuing to play at a high level. Walters topped his career-high 16, that he set at Vanderbilt on Wednesday night, with a new high of 20 points. Senior guard Giddy Potts can’t be left out of this conversation, even if he isn’t a front court player. Potts had 14 of his own, including shooting 3 of 9 from behind arc. King, Walters and Potts have officially created a new ‘Big 3′ for Davis’ Blue Raiders.
6. An SEC opponent hasn’t successfully taken down the Blue Raiders since Auburn beat them in December of 2014. The Tigers will look to end the Blue Raiders reign over their league next weekend when the two meet in Birmingham.
7. The conversation of a potential at-large bid for Davis’ squad is there to be had, even in early December. Middle now has wins against two Power 5 opponents in Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, not to mention wins against quality mid-majors, Murray State and Florida Gulf Coast. MTSU started the week at No. 6 in the initial RPI rankings and came into today at 15. They’ll get another opportunity to build upon their resume, when they travel out to Honolulu during the Christmas Holiday for the Diamond Head Classic, where they could meet Miami and Southern California, before starting Conference USA play.