Middle Tennessee’s domination of the Sun Belt continued Saturday, as the Blue Raiders won conference’s regular season title by beating defending title-holder FAU 72-59.
The win assured the Blue Raiders (24-4, 13-1) of their first postseason appearance since 1989.
For the Owls (11-16, 7-7), it was another loss in a disappointing season and could cost them a first-round bye in the Sun Belt tournament.
The Owls were behind 32-22 after shooting 26.1 percent in the first half. But they scored four quick points to start the second half to cut the lead to six.
That prompted a MTSU timeout, and whatever was said took hold, as the Blue Raiders came out and went on a 20-2 run to regain control and romp to a sweep of the season series and a spot in the NIT if they fail to get into the NCAA tournament.
Shavar Richardson had 16 points for the Owls. LaRon Denby had 20 points and 10 rebounds for MTSU.
MTSU, which came into the game with a winning margin of more than 10 points (71.7 to 61.1) won by double digits for the 17th time this season.
The Owls have lost two straight with two games left in the regular season, both at home, starting with South Alabama Thursday at FAU Arena.
FAU is in sixth place in the Sun Belt, and needs to finish in the top five to earn a bye.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times