Archive | MTSU Basketball

Raiders headed to C-USA Tournament Final

Raiders headed to C-USA Tournament Final

Posted on 13 March 2015 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee is heading to the Conference USA Championship Final after the Blue Raiders pulled off yet another upset with a 53-50 victory over second-seeded UTEP in the semifinal round.

The Blue Raiders will face the winner of top-seeded LA Tech and fourth-seeded UAB in the C-USA Championship Final on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT with the game broadcast nationally on Fox Sports 1.

MT will play in their ninth-ever conference title and second final with Head Coach Kermit Davis at the helm.

The Blue Raiders weathered an early storm that put them down eight points and settled down and to go 6-of-8 from the field to pull within three points before the eight minute media timeout.

MT went on a 7-0 run while holding the Miners scoreless for over seven minutes as the pace started to favor the Blue Raiders and their defensive style.

Despite buckling down on the defensive end, MT went into halftime down 25-20, shooting 30 percent from the field. The Blue Raiders forced seven first-half turnovers but were out-rebounded 21-17.

Darnell Harris came off the bench lead the team with seven points and seven rebounds before the halftime buzzer.

The Blue Raiders started the second half strong, stringing together a 7-0 run that tied the game at 29-29 after a Reggie Upshaw layup.

DJ Jones made a difference on both ends as the half rolled on as he helped make a big stop with the Blue Raiders trailing by one and then turned around and recorded back-to-back 3-pointers to boost MT to a 40-35 lead with eight minutes remaining in the game.

That sparked a 10-0 run with Jones recording eight-straight points for the Blue Raiders.

“This is our third really physical game against a really well-coached Conference USA team,” Davis said. “Our buckets were hard to come by, DJ Jones really gave us such an unbelievable lift.”

Jones knocked down four treys in a six minute span to give MT a 49-44 lead with three minutes left in the game.

Middle Tennessee held out down the stretch to secure its place in the C-USA title game in the team’s second year in the conference.

“I told these the guys that we have a special run in us, if we keep practicing like we do, something great is going to happen.”

Jones finished with a game-high 17 points, while Harris had the team-high eight boards. The Blue Raiders finished the day shooting 35.8 percent from the field, with the bench scoring over half the points with 28 total.

Perrin Buford ended the game with ten points and is averaging 13.7 points per game in the tournament.

The Blue Raiders held the Miners to 20 points under their season scoring average.

MT is 19-15 overall this season and have won four-straight games, its longest streak of the year.

A six seed has never won the C-USA title, although Marshall went to the final as a six seed in 2010 but fell to Memphis.

The Blue Raiders are 5-3 in conference finals, and have fallen in their last three appearances. This is the first appearance in the final for the Blue Raiders since 2008 when they fell to Western Kentucky.

Tickets to the final are $35 dollars and free for students at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. Middle Tennessee will hold a pep rally at the arena at 1 p.m.

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Giddy Potts Grabs C-USA All-Freshman Team Honors

Giddy Potts Grabs C-USA All-Freshman Team Honors

Posted on 11 March 2015 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee’s Giddy Potts collected Conference USA All-Freshman Team Honors as announced by the conference on Tuesday afternoon.

The Athens, Ala., native found his rhythm in conference play, scoring 178 of his 218 points this season against conference opponents, accounting or 81.7 percent of his points this season.

Potts ranks 11th in the conference in 3-point shooting percentage (.389) and eighth in league play in the same category (.407).

“I’m very proud of Giddy, I think it is well deserved,” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “The All-Freshman Team was a hard team to make because there’s a really good group of freshmen around the league. I think a lot of outstanding freshmen got left off the team but I thought Giddy made a ton of improvement especially in league play.”

Potts earned C-USA Freshman of the Week accolades after a stunning week against Marshall and WKU where he scored a career-high 28 points against the Thundering Herd.

Potts’ eight 3-point baskets in the game was the most recorded by any C-USA player this season and is tied 14th–most in the country.

He’s led the Blue Raiders in scoring on four occasions in his rookie season and leads the team in 3-point buckets made with 42 total. Potts averages 17.6 minutes per game this season and has started in 16 games.

In conference action, Potts is second on the Middle Tennessee squad with 9.9 points per game, shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from 3-point range. He’s dished out 17 assists, while grabbing 17 steals in league play alone.

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MTSU loses to FIU on the road, 59-54

MTSU loses to FIU on the road, 59-54

Posted on 06 March 2015 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee men’s basketball suffered a 59-54 road loss at FIU on Thursday evening and move to 15-15 overall and 8-9 in Conference USA play.

The Blue Raiders saw their 19th different starting line-up of the season with Reggie Upshaw, Darnell Harris, Giddy Potts, Edward Simpson and Jaqawn Raymond on the court.
The first half would see three lead changes with both teams hanging within a couple possessions.

The Blue Raiders suffered a 4+ minute scoring drought near the end of the first half that allowed FIU to take a 16-14 lead.

MT was able to fight its way past the cold streak to hit six of its last seven field goals in the half to take a 30-24 lead heading into the locker room. Potts hit four of those final field goals in the closing minutes of to lead the team with 13 points.

Despite the early shooting woes for the Blue Raiders, MT finished the half shooting 41 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range (6-12).

The Panthers went on a 15-2 run to regain the lead in the second half at 40-36 with a 3-pointer by Ray Rodriguez at the 11:30 mark; FIU’s first trey of the night.
Once again the Blue Raiders were able to weather the storm as they tied the game at 52 with two free-throws from Perrin Buford.

Another four minute scoring drought in the final five minutes of the game ultimately doomed the Blue Raiders with the Panthers closing the game with a 7-2 run to get the 59-54 victory.

While the Blue Raiders finished with seven 3-pointers to FIU’s one, the Panthers won the battle at the charity stripe 20-5.

Potts (13), Buford (12) and Raymond (12) scored double figures, while Upshaw led the team off the glass with 10 boards. MT had a slight edge in rebounding with 34 boards to FIU’s 32.

The loss marked the first time the Blue Raiders fell to FIU since they faced each other in the Sun Belt Tournament in 2013 and the first time MT lost at FIU since 2008 when they FIU came away with a 66-60 win.

This is the Blue Raiders seventh-straight road loss with its last win away from the Murphy Center against Southern Miss (Jan. 15).

Middle Tennessee will close the regular season on Saturday at Florida Atlantic. The game is slated to tip-off at 6 p.m. CT. The Blue Raiders are on the hunt to finish the conference season at .500 with the C-USA Championship starting on Wednesday, March 11.

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Raiders fall in Triple OT

Raiders fall in Triple OT

Posted on 01 March 2015 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee did not let UAB have its ninth-straight home win in Bartow Arena easy as the Blue Raiders fought the Blazers to a triple overtime battle, only to fall 100-95.

With the loss MT is now 15-14 overall and 8-8 in league play, while the Blazers advance to 16-13 and 12-4 in C-USA.

UAB pieced together a 9-0 run in a 2 minute span late in the second half to go ahead 35-22 with three minutes left in the half.

MT suffered a scoring drought soon after and went into the locker room trailing the Blazers 37-25. MT went 2-for-11 in the final six minutes of the half.

The Blue Raiders shot 33 percent from the field compared to UAB’s 54 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.

Middle Tennessee went 7-of-7 from 16:44 to 11:19 in the second half to chip away at the Blazers lead and bring the game within five points.

The Blue Raiders fought back from a 15-point deficit in the second half.

Perrin Buford scored 15 second-half points, while DJ Jones added 13 in the half to propel the Blue Raiders to tie the game at 69-69 with a minute left in regulation. Both teams made quality stops in the closing minute to send the game into overtime for the Blue Raiders fourth overtime of the year.

MT trailed by as many as five points in the first overtime but fought its way back as Jacquez Rozier put in the game-tying bucket with 5 seconds left on the clock to eventually send the Blue Raiders into its second double overtime game of the season.

The Blue Raiders gained their first lead of the game since their first field goal of the game with 3 minutes left in the second overtime as Buford gave MT the 81-79 lead.

The Blazers were down by two with 11 seconds left in overtime and nearly turned the ball over twice as Hakeen Baxter was able to put away a lay-up at the buzzer to take the game into its third overtime at 86-86.

The third overtime saw five of the game’s 11 lead changes alone as the two teams continued back and forth as the Blazers ended on the winning end of the war.

Nationally, only 13 games have made it to triple overtime this year.

Jones and Buford annihilated their career-high with Buford finishing the day with 29 points to improve his former of 16 points, while Jones collected 24 points to best his former career-high of 11 points. Six of Jones’ seven field goals came from 3-point land. Buford led the team off the glass with nine boards.

With the help of Buford and Jones, the Middle Tennessee bench ended the game with 67 of the Blue Raiders 95 points, a season-high in scoring for the Blue Raider bench.

Four MT players ended the day in double figures with Buford, Jones, Upshaw (13) and Rozier (11), marking the fifth time this year four players have scored double figures in a game.

After shooting just 33 percent from the field and 20 percent from three-point range in the first half, the Blue Raiders improved to finish the game 41.3 percent from the field and 36 percent from behind the arc.

UAB win extended its home court winning streak to nine games as the Blazers are undefeated in conference play in Bartow Arena.

The Blue Raiders will continue with this road swing with a trip to Florida for the last two games of the regular season, FIU (Mar. 5) and FAU (Mar. 7).

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Harris helps MT to big win over FAU

Harris helps MT to big win over FAU

Posted on 10 January 2015 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee won its second straight conference game in convincing fashion Saturday night, topping Florida Atlantic 82-58 at the Murphy Center.

The Blue Raiders led wire-to-wire and went up as much as 30 in the second half. A Darnell Harris three-pointer at the 15:03 mark ignited a 17-0 run to put the game out of reach.

Harris poured in a career-high 24 points and became the first Blue Raider to eclipse 20 in a game this season. The junior shot 75 percent from the field (9-of-12) and grabbed six rebounds while leading the offensive attack.

“We’re proud of Darnell, we could just see his improvement over the last couple weeks,” said head coach Kermit Davis.

Middle Tennessee (9-7, 2-1 C-USA) notched 80 points for the first time in 16 games, while the victory became the third occasion that saw four Raiders reach double figures in the scoring column. Perrin Buford, Reggie Upshaw and Marcus Tarrance each recorded 12 points.

Rebounding became the major factor, as Middle Tennessee dominated FAU 39-19 on the glass. The visitors entered the matchup averaging over nine offensive boards a game, but MT shut the Owls out and outscored them 21-0 on second-chance opportunities.

The Blue Raiders remain unbeaten when scoring at least 60 points (9-0), while tallying the two highest scoring outputs in half this season.

Middle Tennessee built a nine-point lead and led FAU 22-13 halfway through the first period. The Blue Raiders made seven of their first 14 attempts from the field, as junior Harris recorded eight points through the opening 10 minutes.

Harris finished with 12 points at the break, as MT recorded its highest point total in a half this season with a 42-34 advantage. Both teams shot over 50 percent and FAU did most of its damage from beyond the arc with four 3-pointers. However, MT took advantage of free opportunities by going 12-of-13 from the charity stripe.

The Blue Raiders finished with the team’s highest free-throw percentage in a C-USA contest after going an impressive 92 percent (24-of-26) from the line.
Solomon Poole scored 17 points to lead the Owls (7-7, 0-3 C-USA).

“We’re back in the mix,” added Davis. “That’s all you want to do after a big weekend for everybody in our league.”

Middle Tennessee will play its conference road opener at Southern Miss next Thursday, Jan. 15. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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MTSU tops FIU 65-62

MTSU tops FIU 65-62

Posted on 09 January 2015 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee showed up with intensity and outplayed FIU on both ends of the floor in a 65-52 victory over FIU Thursday night at the Murphy Center. The Blue Raider’s bench played a huge role, outscoring the Panthers 35-2, as Middle Tennessee (8-7, 1-1 C-USA) claimed its first conference win of the season.

“We got better when we went to the bench and I just thought we had more guys play better,” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. It was a good team effort and our team got better tonight.”

Edward Simpson poured in a career-high 14 points and knocked down four three-pointers to lead MT, while Reggie Upshaw reached double figures with 11 points and six rebounds.

Jacquez Rozier stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, five boards, three assists, three steals and two blocks.

The Blue Raiders ou-tscored FIU 19-5 over a span of eight minutes in the first half, as the Blue Raiders went up as much as 14. Eight different Blue Raiders reached the scoring column, while Simpson paced MT with eight points after 20 minutes.

MT shot 54 percent (14-of-26) from the field and hit four treys on its way to a 35-22 lead at halftime.

The Blue Raiders continued the hot shooting in the second half, highlighted by a pair of Simpson three-pointers that built the largest lead of the contest at 54-30 with 9:17 left in regulation.

“I was proud of our players,” Davis said. “We needed a win really bad to get back 1-1 with the league. We’re going to really focus on the 32-33 minutes of positive play from tonight.”
Dennis Mavin scored 31 points for the Panthers, which became the most MT has given up to an individual this season, but the Panthers never got within 12 down the stretch.

Middle Tennessee out-rebounded FIU (8-7, 1-1 C-USA) by seven and remained undefeated (8-0) when scoring at least 60 points in a game this season.

The Blue Raiders continue league play by hosting Florida Atlantic (7-6, 0-2 C-USA) on Saturday night. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Murphy Center.
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Blue Raiders bested by Blazers in C-USA opener

Blue Raiders bested by Blazers in C-USA opener

Posted on 04 January 2015 by Allen

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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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MTSU wins at Akron

MTSU wins at Akron

Posted on 14 December 2014 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee picked up its second-consecutive thrilling road victory with a 62-61 win at Akron to improve to 5-4 on the season.

Sparked by a strong performance from the Blue Raider bench, MT shot 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range; the best percentage this season. Reggie Upshaw Jr. tyed a season-high with 17 points while adding 8 rebounds to lead the team.

The Blue Raiders were sparked by a 16-2 run in first half to give them 31-22 lead before the final media timeout of the half.

As Middle Tennessee went into the locker room with a 37-32 lead, 26 of those points came from the Blue Raider bench with Edward Simpson matching a career-high with 10 points to lead the team. Jacob Ivory also came off the bench to post a career-high in the half with seven first-half points.

The Zips would keep chipping away at the Blue Raider’s lead, bringing it within three points after the Blue Raiders would extend a big lead.

The final two minutes would be a nail biter as the Zips managed to tie the game 61-61. With a trip to the free-throw line by Jacquez Rozier to give MT a 62-61 lead, the Blue Raiders put up a great defensive stand with 11 seconds remaining to hold Akron shot less and hand the Zips their first home loss of the season.

“Our team is an improving basketball team,” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “From the second half of Creighton we have really seen our team grow. We shot 55 percent against a really good team. That’s an NCAA tournament team that rarely loses at home, overall I’m really proud.”

Three Blue Raiders registered double digit scoring with Upshaw (17), Rozier (13) and Simpson (10).

Ivory ended with a career-night, with 9 points and four assists.

The Middle Tennessee closed the win with 38 points compared to Akron’s 21 bench points.

“We told our team that there bench was really good and they knew that our bench would have to be great tonight and they were,” Davis said. “Those three guys (Upshaw, Simpson, Ivory) really played well tonight and Reggie was able to do better at rebounding and that was key.”

The Blue Raiders continue this road swing with a nationally televised game at Oklahoma State on Tuesday, December 16 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. The Cowboys are currently receiving votes in the USA Today Top-25 Coaches Poll.

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Raiders fall to Creighton

Raiders fall to Creighton

Posted on 30 November 2014 by Allen

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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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Raiders beat Lumberjacks 65-53

Raiders beat Lumberjacks 65-53

Posted on 26 November 2014 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee remains unbeaten in the Emerald Coast Classic with a 65-53 victory over Northern Arizona Tuesday night at Murphy Center. With the win the Blue Raiders improve to 3-1 overall on the young season.

The Blue Raiders shot a season-high 45 percent from the field and got plenty of contribution with five players netting at least eight points. Perrin Buford was efficient while leading the offensive attack, scoring a career-high 16 points in 21 minutes. Reggie Upshaw Jr. scored eight second-half points to reach double figures as he recorded his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Marcus Tarrance and Jacquez Rozier each tallied 10 points, while Edward Simpson went 3-of-5 from deep for nine points in his second-consecutive start.

The Blue Raiders drained a season-high seven three-pointers, but really flexed their muscles by outscoring the Lumberjacks 34-24 in the paint. MT also committed a season-low eight turnovers to control the game.

Middle Tennessee started off hot, sinking four of its first six shots from the field.

Simpson gave the Blue Raiders their first lead 7-4 after sinking a three-pointer at the 16:53 mark. Shortly after, a Darnell Harris jumper went through to give MT its largest lead of the half at the first media timeout.

The rest of the first half went back and forth as each team shot 44 percent from the field, while neither led by more than five. Northern Arizona grabbed the lead on a pair of free throws with 6:42 on the clock and held on until another Simpson trey evened the score at 26 just before the halftime buzzer sounded.

MT wasted no time by reclaiming the lead on a 7-2 spurt to begin the second half, capped by a Buford dunk off a fast-break dish from Upshaw. The slam put the home team ahead 33-28 with 15 minutes left. However, the Lumberjacks kept responding whenever it seemed like the Blue Raiders were pulling away.

Ultimately, Buford gave the Blue Raiders the lead for good after completing an old-fashioned three-point play at the 10 minute mark. Then, Upshaw provided the dagger with his first three-pointer of the season with just under three minutes left in regulation.

“Northern Arizona is battle tested on the road,” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “They responded well from Ole Miss. I thought Reggie really turned the second half around. We made some timely threes at the end. They’ll be a tough team in the NCAA tourney.”

The Blue Raiders eventually outscored the Lumberjacks 39-27 over the final 20 minutes.

Northern Arizona (1-4) had three players reach double figures, including Kris Yanku (15 points), Aaseem Dixon (11 points) and Jaleni Neely (10 points).

Middle Tennessee continues play in the Emerald Coast Classic when it travels to Niceville, Florida for a matchup against Cincinnati on Friday. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. as the Bearcats come off a 59-50 win over N.C. Central on Tuesday night.

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MTSU tops OVU in opener 77-60

MTSU tops OVU in opener 77-60

Posted on 15 November 2014 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee captured its seventh consecutive season–opening victory by defeating Ohio Valley Friday night inside Murphy Center, 77-60.

The Blue Raiders outlasted the Fighting Scots in a fast-paced, physical contest during the teams’ first ever matchup. After missing all 11 three-point attempts in the first half, MT drilled 4-of-9 in the second stanza and grabbed a 46-34 edge in rebounds to control the contest.

A Jaqawn Raymond dunk with 8:56 remaining put the Blue Raiders ahead 61-48 as Ohio Valley never got within 11 points the rest of the way.

Reggie Upshaw Jr. poured in 17 points, just one point shy of his career high, on 5-of-7 shooting. The sophomore forward finished with seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals to lead MT. Marcus Tarrance also reached double figures with 11 points in 18 minutes of action.

Both teams struggled to take care of the ball, combining for a total of 45 turnovers. The Blue Raiders held Ohio Valley to 38.6 percent from the field, while the home team shot 45.1 percent.

Upshaw got the Blue Raiders going in the opening minutes with two steals and seven points at the first media timeout when MT led 14-6. That momentum carried through for most of the half as the Blue Raiders scored nine points off turnovers.

MT managed to build a 13-point advantage with just over 10:00 minutes, but Ohio Valley stayed close and ended the half with five unanswered points which cut MT’s lead to three, 38-35.

Tarrance drilled the first MT three-pointer early in the second half, but turnovers prevented the Blue Raiders from pulling away as they held just a four-point advantage with 14:26 on the clock.

However, Middle Tennessee’s depth proved to be a factor as the blue and white eventually wore down the opposition, outscoring Ohio Valley 39-25 in the second half.

Starting freshman guard JaQuel Richmond recorded a team-high seven assists in the victory.

Ohio Valley was led by Darryl Walker’s 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

“We’ve got lightyears to go but we got the win and that’s what is most important,” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “We have got to show toughness; toughness is shooting. We are a really good shooting team but we are very happy to be 1-0.”

The Blue Raiders take the court again on Tuesday night when they host Murray State (0-1). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM.

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MTSU lands Gamble and Coleman

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MTSU lands Gamble and Coleman

Posted on 13 November 2014 by Allen

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The Middle Tennessee men’s basketball program and head coach Kermit Davis announced the signing of two student-athletes to National Letters of Intent.

The Blue Raiders will look to add Karl Gamble and Justin Coleman to the 2015-16 squad as Gamble hails from South Carolina and Coleman transfers in after two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Karl Gamble
Forward / 6-9 / 200
A.C. Flora High School / Columbia, S.C.
Gamble comes in as the top-recruited forward out of South Carolina after leading his A.C. Flora High School team to the Class AAA South Carolina High School Sports League state championship last season. He was the No. 3 overall recruit out of South Carolina according to Hoop Seen. Gamble averaged a double-double last season as a 6-foot-9, 210 pound forward. Gamble also received offers from Wofford and Stephen F. Austin.

Davis on Gamble: “Karl has been rated as the No. 1 forward in the state of South Carolina and ranked in the top-three players. He’s long, about 210 pounds and blocks shots. We think his upside is tremendous, he’s a really good student with a terrific family so everything about Karl fits right in our wheelhouse of really good players and a fantastic young man.”

Justin Coleman
Forward / 6-7 / 210
Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (Blackman HS) / Nashville, Tenn.
Coleman transfers to Middle Tennessee from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) where he is currently a sophomore. The Nashville native began his high school career at Beech High School in Hendersonville before he played his 2012-13 senior season at Blackman High School under coach Barry Wortman. His freshman year at MGCCC he averaged approximately 20 minutes per game along with six points and six rebounds per contest. In MGCCC’s two games of the 2014-15 season Coleman has recorded 12 points while pulling down seven boards and two assists.

Davis on Coleman: “Justin is a guy that spent one year at Blackman High School and played for an unbelievable high school coach in Barry Wortman. He chose to go to a junior college and he made a lot of progress in a year under Coach Wendell Weathers. I think Justin is continuing to improve, we went down there and we saw his strides and he’s got to continue to improve. He fits our mantra of a really skilled four. He comes from a great family and he wants to be at Middle Tennessee. We feel Justin will be a very good fit for Blue Raider Basketball.”

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Upshaw leads Raiders underclassmen

Upshaw leads Raiders underclassmen

Posted on 27 October 2014 by Allen

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Reggie Upshaw Jr. will have more memories of his freshman college experience than most other first-year student athletes.

Surrounded by four seniors in a starting lineup that had won 28 games and played in the NCAA tournament a year before, Upshaw started 20 games, experiencing early the weight of starting as a true freshman.

It was a challenge for Upshaw, and the choo-choo-city native delivered.

“I felt there was a lot of pressure because I didn’t want to let the other four seniors down knowing that this (was) their last season,” said Upshaw, who averaged 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds a game.

“Sometimes you just start a lot of freshman and you lose games,” said head coach Kermit Davis. “But he started in a really vital role and helped us win a championship.”

A part of that important role was helping now Miami Heat player and 2014 Conference USA player of the year Shawn Jones get more touches on the offensive end.

“Last year Shawn was kind of the center piece. We all tried to get the ball to him as much as possible,” said Upshaw.

But if you take a look at the final statistics from last year, Upshaw had the third best shooting percentage (45.9 percent, minimum 100 attempts) behind Jones and Neiko Hunter.

With that efficiency comes confidence, and with confidence comes more opportunities for the 6’7, 222-pound sophomore.

“This year I feel like I have to be more assertive on the offense end and try to kind of take on some of those shots he took last year,” said Upshaw.

“We’re going to play him a bit more at the 4-spot. That will give him a little more advantages where he can start trying to drive,” said Davis, comparing Upshaw to former pick-and-pop forwards like LaRon Dendy, Hunter and MT’s all-time leading scorer Desmond Yates.

“He’s really skilled. We let him rebound the ball and advance the ball up the floor on the break. He’s shooting the ball better now. He’s a really good passer. There’s a lot of things Reggie can do.”

One of the biggest strengths Upshaw has is the ability to play as a shooting guard or forward, depending on the opponent’s lineup and offensive game plan.

This allows Upshaw a big advantage of bringing the ball down court at the forward position, giving the offense more options to work with, and creating confusion for opposing defenses.

“You don’t have to outlet the ball. You are playing fast in the break. The other team’s point guard is usually trying to stop the ball and now it’s a little different,” said Davis. “Your transition defense is harder, so there is no doubt I think if you can have a multiple handler, especially at the 4-spot, you get a lot better.”

Upshaw, who looks just as much of a wide receiver for the Middle Tennessee football team as he does to a younger “Boogie” Yates, uses a lot of skills from his football playing days at Baylor on the basketball court.

“I love recruiting basketball guys that have played football. I think they’ve been hit. They’ve been knocked to the ground. They have to have a physicallness about them. Those guys aren’t afraid of contact,” said Davis.

And neither is Upshaw of the challenges ahead.

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Raiders hold first practice

Raiders hold first practice

Posted on 07 October 2014 by Allen

MTSU2

Middle Tennessee had its first official practice of the 2014-15 season on Tuesday afternoon in the newly renovated Murphy Center.

The Blue Raiders have a lot of new faces with nine newcomers on the squad with five freshman and four transfers.

“It’s so much different than the shotgun start we used to have years ago. We have a good familiarity with the team,” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “We’ve been through 28 practices together since June so now we get to see how our guys respond to the day-to-day grind and the bumps and bruises. We’ve made a lot of progress and we have a lot of work to do but I’m looking forward to it.”

Today was the first time for the newcomers to play on the main floor in the Murphy Center after it underwent $11-million worth of renovations. The improvements to the arena include new arena lighting, a new roof, a new HVAC system, updated bathrooms and updated concessions.

“The place looks terrific,” Davis said. “I was here 14 years ago when they had different colored chairs in the arena. So for me to see the 14 year period of growth it’s really spectacular. For our new guys this is the first time they’ve ever shot in our arena so it’s great to be back in the Murphy Center. It will be a great experience for the fans and the players.”

MT returns six players including starter Reggie Upshaw Jr. Also returning to the Blue Raiders are seniors Jacquez Rozier and Marcus Tarrance, juniors Jaqawn Raymond and Gavin Gibson and sophomore Joshua Phillips.

“Our six guys coming back have really done a great job and that is who we will look to for leadership,” Davis said. “They’ve got to make a lot of progress in their own ways too on the floor. A lot will be written about our new players but I always say the strength of your team will be in the returning experienced players and those guys have worked extremely hard and have all made tons of improvement.”

The Blue Raiders were 24-9 overall last year and 13-3 in conference play to claim a share of the C-USA regular season crown in their first season of play in the league.

MT opens the 2014-15 season on Nov. 10 in an exhibition game against Martin Methodist at the Murphy Center. The Blue Raiders then play in four-consecutive home games in the regular season with Ohio Valley (Nov. 14) and Murray State (Nov. 18), followed by the first two games in the Emerald Coast Classic with Southern University (Nov. 22) and Northern Arizona (Nov. 25).

Season tickets are still on sale for the 2014-15 home slate. Tickets are $150 or fans can purchase a combination of both men’s and women’s season tickets at a discounted rate of $199. The men’s season ticket package includes 16 home games. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 1-888-YES-MTSU.

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Scores

Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24

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