MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) LaRon Dendy scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Middle Tennessee over Western Kentucky 72-64.
The Blue Raiders (22-4, 11-1 Sun Belt Conference) outrebounded Western Kentucky 51-44, helping them score 15 second-chance points and 38 points in the paint.
Middle Tennessee trailed 31-30 with 18:39 left and scored eight straight. Dendy's jumper made it 39-31 with 15:13 to play.
Western Kentucky, which wouldn't get closer than four points the rest of the way, turned it over twice during the spurt.
Marcos Knight added 12 points, Raymond Cintron 11 and Kerry Hammonds 10 for the Blue Raiders, who won their fifth straight in the series.
The Hilltoppers (8-16, 4-7) were led by T.J. Price with 14 points and George Fant with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Western Kentucky shot just 33.8 percent from the field (22 of 65), and made 28.6 percent form 3-point range (6 of 21).