Categorized | MTSU Basketball

Raiders fall to Creighton

Posted on 30 November 2014 by Allen


Middle Tennessee (3-3) finished off play at the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic with a 57-47 loss to No. 23 Creighton (6-1) on Saturday night.

It was the tale of two halves as the Blue Raiders recovered from a 21 point deficit in the first half to finish the game within 10 points with 39.1 percent shooting and out-rebounding the Bluejays 29-24.

MT started a new group featuring DJ Jones, Marcus Tarrance, Joshua Phillips, Jacquez Rozier and Reggie Upshaw; the team has started four different groups in its first six games.

The starting line-up brought a high-intensity defense to get off to a 4-3 lead in the first five minutes before the Bluejays turned a quick 7-0 run to go up 10-4.

Creighton was able to capitalize on MT’s first-half mistakes as they picked up seven points off turnovers and out-scored the Blue Raiders in the paint 12-4.

The Blue Raiders shooting started strong but tinkered off in the half as they finished the half 6-of-23 from the field for 26.1 percent, while Creighton shot a steady 60.9 percent. The Bluejays had four players record a three-point basket in the first half as they went 4-of-7 with their bench picking up 16 of their first-half points.

The Blue Raiders used an 8-0 run to gain momentum in the opening minutes of the second half to bring the score back within 13 points with the help of a three-pointer and a floating jumper from Jaqawn Raymond.

MT held Creighton scoreless from the field for 15 minutes and 21 seconds as the defense continued to find a rhythm. The Blue Raiders managed to force the Bluejays to go 3-of-14 from the field in the second half to help them wedge their way back into the game.

Middle Tennessee picked up the pace, shooting 26.1 percent better in the second half of the game.

The Blue Raiders were able to keep battling as they brought it within 10 points with 7:31 remaining in the game off of a powerful dunk by Raymond as Giddy Potts set him up on a fast break.

“We had an inability to make shots, normal college shots,” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “The second half I was really proud of our team and I think we got it within a workable number despite a couple turnovers but found about seven or eight guys that will play the way we want to play.”

The BlueJays’ Isaiah Zierdan hit a crippling three-pointer before the final media timeout as he was fouled on the shot by Tarrance. The made free-throw extended Creighton’s lead by 13 points to make it 50-37.

MT continued to fight as it narrowed the lead to single digits, snagging 12 points off turnovers in the second half and increasing its points in the paint output by 16 points from the first half.

Middle Tennessee’s bench performed well again as it finished with 20 points with Raymond leading the team with nine points. The Blue Raider bench has recorded 40% of the team’s points this season.

Starters, Rozier and Phillips combined for 11 of the team’s rebounds, while Jones recorded eight points and three rebounds in his first career start for the Blue Raiders.

Middle Tennessee will return to the hardwood with a short road trip to Belmont on Tuesday, December 2nd for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
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