Reggie Upshaw Jr. had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Raiders (3-1). Jacquez Rozier and Marcus Tarrance both added 10 points and Middle Tennessee shot 47 percent (7 of 15) beyond the arc.
Kris Yanku led Northern Arizona with 15 points. Aaseem Dixon added 11 points and Jaleni Neely chipped in with 10. NAU leading scorer Quinton Upshur, averaging 15.3 entering the game, was 3 of 12 from the floor - and just 1 of 7 on 3-pointers - and finished with 7 points.
Middle Tennessee led by three with 7:46 left, but a pair of Upshaw free throws - off an Upshur foul - and subsequent layup pushed the lead to six. Buford and Tarrance drilled treys and the Blue Raiders walked home with the win.