Categorized | MTSU Basketball

Blue Raiders bested by Blazers in C-USA opener

Posted on 04 January 2015 by Allen


Middle Tennessee came up short in its Conference USA opener against UAB (5-9, 1-0), 54-49, in a tightly contested matchup Sunday afternoon in Murphy Center. The Blue Raiders fall to 7-7 on the season and 0-1 in C-USA.

The Blue Raiders led for over 20 minutes, but second half shooting woes proved costly as MT finished at 27 percent from the field (14-of-52). UAB used a late surge to go ahead and ended with a 41 percent shooting mark from the field.

Jaqawn Raymond landed a season-high points total with 14 on 5-of-8 shooting (62.5 %), while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists. Giddy Potts reached double figures for the second time this season, finishing with 12 points and three boards.

Marcus Tarrance contributed on the glass with a career-high nine rebounds while chipping in with seven points.

The first half proved to be full of momentum swings as Middle Tennessee opened up the contest with a 5-0 lead at the first media break. UAB responded with a 4-0 run, but MT quickly countered by knocking down three consecutive 3-pointers. The third trey from Marcus Tarrance gave the Blue Raiders the largest lead of the game at 16-6 with just under 12 minutes left in the half.

UAB then surged back into the game by outscoring MT 13-0 over the following six minutes to establish a 19-16 lead with eight minutes to play in the half. During the spurt, the Blazers shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the field.

Jacquez Rozier eventually stopped the run with a pair of free throws at the 6:17 mark. From there, the teams exchanged the lead six times as UAB claimed a three-point lead at halftime, 28-25. The visitors shot 52 percent from the field while holding the Blue Raiders scoreless from the paint during the first 20 minutes.

“It’s a long season,” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “We can look at different things on our team, but our returning players have got to be better.”

The same pace carried over into the second half until the Blue Raiders put together a 9-0 spurt, capped by a Raymond breakaway dunk, to reclaim the lead 36-32 with 13 minutes left in the game.

Both teams struggled to find their touch from the field throughout the second half, while UAB tied the game at 41-41 on a layup with 6:16 remaining. Later on with the score knotted at 43, UAB’s Nick Norton drilled a deep three with 2:29 to play, putting the Blazers up three points.

UAB sealed the game with eight free throws down the stretch. The Blazers were led by Robert Brown’s 13 points and six rebounds.

Middle Tennessee continues conference play when it welcomes FIU to the Murphy Center on Thursday evening. Tip is slated for 7 p.m.

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