SOUTHAVEN — JT Sulton had to get an IV early in the second half. His Middle Tennessee teammate, Raymond Cintron, was plagued by foul trouble.
Midway through the second half, however, the duo keyed a 13-1 run to spur Middle Tennessee to a 68-56 win over Ole Miss on Wednesday night at the DeSoto Civic Center.
“It was great to get JT back,” said Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis Jr., a Starkville native who coached Wednesday in front of some 75 family and friends who made the trip to Southaven from all over north Mississippi. “It was almost like JT came back with fresh legs. He really did. He had a lot of pop to him. Cintron got going. He’s a really good shooter. We kind of stayed with a couple of sets we were running. I just thought we were patient.”
With the game tied at 43-43 with 9:42 left, Sulton’s dunk after Ole Miss committed a turnover on the other end of the floor gave the Blue Raiders (11-2) the lead for good.
Cintron, who scored a game-high 18 points, made two free throws and then knocked down a 3-pointer on Middle Tennessee’s next two possessions to expand the lead to 50-43.
“We absorbed some really difficult times against a really athletic team,” Davis said. “We moved the ball a lot better in the second half. We seemed to be a lot more unselfish in the second half.”
After Jarvis Summers made a free throw to stop the run, Sulton spun a Nick Williams turnover into a dunk and then hit a jumper on the Blue Raiders’ next trip to push the lead to double digits.
Middle Tennessee led by as many as 16 points late in the second half. Ole Miss (9-3) never got closer than 10 points in the final 3 minutes. It was the second key non-league win for the Blue Raiders, who beat UCLA earlier this season.
“The UCLA win early was a big for us, but I think, given where we all live and what our fans watch, to beat an Ole Miss team that has had some good wins will do a lot for our fan base in Murfreesboro,” Davis said.
LaRon Dendy scored 13 points for Middle Tennessee. Marcos Knight added 11 and Sulton finished with 10. Jarvis Summers led Ole Miss with nine points.
Despite three first-half fouls for starting center Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss led 27-26 at halftime. The fouls haunted the Rebels all night. Forward Terrance Henry had two first-half fouls, picked up his third early in the second half and then his fourth with 13:13 left.
The third member of the Rebels’ starting frontcourt, forward Murphy Holloway, suffered a left leg injury with 10:09 remaining and did not return.
“Obviously, he’s our most efficient player,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said Holloway would have X-rays on his ankle today in Oxford.
“That’s a big loss for them,” Davis said. “He’s the heart and soul of their team. He’s one of the best offensive rebounders in college basketball. I hope he’s fine. He’s a warrior.” (December 22, 2011, Page 6)