Perrin Buford had 23 points and eight rebounds and Reggie Upshaw scored 18 points and eight rebounds of his own for the Blue Raiders (14-5, 6-1 Conference USA), who have never lost in their three all-time home games against Rice. Middle Tennessee has won six in a row overall.
Middle Tennessee closed the first half on a 31-11 stretch and led 45-25 at the break. Buford buried a jumper with 16:44 to go which gave the Blue Raiders a 57-32 lead, its largest of the night.
Marquez Letcher-Ellis made a layup for Rice (6-14, 1-6) which capped an 8-0 run that cut the lead to 64-54, but the Owls never managed to trim the lead under 10.
Max Guercy led Rice with 20 points.