By JOHN ZENORAP Sports Writer
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Reggie Upshaw made two free throws with 2.9 seconds left to lift Middle Tennessee to a 55-53 victory over Old Dominion on Saturday in the Conference USA tournament.
The Blue Raiders (24-9) earned their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2013 in a defensive struggle that was markedly different from their 99-90 semifinal shootout with Marshall.
Aaron Bacote dribbled once and launched a 3-pointer from before midcourt for Old Dominion (22-13), and Brandan Stith's tip-in attempt didn't fall.
That set off a celebration that included Upshaw standing on the scorer's table in front of Middle Tennessee fans at Legacy Arena.
Giddy Potts led Middle Tennessee with 14 points and made 4 of 5 3-pointers before fouling out. Darnell Harris scored 10 points and Upshaw had nine, including the two biggest.
Trey Freeman led Old Dominion with 17 points, but was only 7-of-23 shooting. Aaron Bacote scored 15 points.
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