MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) -- LaRon Dendy had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Middle Tennessee beat Marshall 86-78 on Tuesday night in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The fourth-seeded Blue Raiders (26-6) advance to play No. 1 seed Tennessee in the second round.
J.T. Sulton scored 16 points for Middle Tennessee, 14 in the first half. Shawn Jones added 15.
Damier Pitts led Marshall (21-14) with 19 points. Dennis Tinnon had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Middle Tennessee led by as many as 13 in the first half, but Marshall narrowed the deficit to 39-34 in the second half on two quick field goals by Nigel Spikes. The Blue Raiders opened a lead as large as 21 with 8:31 left, but Marshall kept the pressure on until the final minute.
The Herd narrowed the deficit to five before Sulton's dunk with 50.6 seconds to go put the game away for Middle Tennessee.