HOUSTON (AP) — Trey Murphy III scored 18 points and the fourth of his four 3-pointers ignited a decisive run in Rice's 79-68 victory over Middle Tennessee on Thursday night.

The second half saw big go-ahead runs alternating among both teams, but Rice went on a 16-0 blitz to take command 70-55 with 3:34 remaining. Murphy's 3-pointer, his final points of the game, gave Rice the lead to begin the outburst.

Chris Mullins scored 19, Jack Williams added 13 points and Robert Martin had 10 rebounds for the Owls (8-12, 3-4 Conference USA).

Reggie Scurry had game highs with 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Blue Raiders (5-15, 2-5). Karl Gamble added 13 points and Antonio Green scored 10.

Middle Tennessee led 34-30 at halftime and went up by eight early in the second half. After Rice rallied to go up by eight, Middle Tennessee went on its own run. The Blue Raiders took a 55-54 lead on a Scurry free throw with 7:50 left before Murphy's 3-pointer started Rice on the decisive run.