MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- J.T. Sulton scored 18 points and Middle Tennessee pulled away in the final 13 minutes to beat Western Kentucky 57-39 Saturday night.
The Blue Raiders (15-15, 10-6 Sun Belt Conference) earned a first-round bye in the conference tournament by clinching the No. 2 seed in the East Division. The Hilltoppers (14-15, 8-8) are the No. 3 East seed and play Louisiana-Monroe on March 5.After trailing 33-21 early in the second half, Western Kentucky rallied to tie it at 33 with 13:16 remaining. The Hilltoppers, however, made just two more field goals the rest of the way.Western Kentucky's point total was its lowest since a 38-20 win over Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 16, 1960. Eastern Kentucky's coach pulled his team off the floor in that game before the full 40 minutes were played.Steffphon Pettigrew scored 15 points for Western Kentucky, which shot 30.4 percent (14 of 46).