Blue Raiders suffer tough road setback

Return home to face Western Kentucky Thursday

December 23, 2006 · MT Media Relations
MEMPHIS - Middle Tennessee hoped to slow the game down against No. 18-ranked Memphis here Saturday afternoon but there was no curtailing the red-hot Tigers as they stormed to a 86-46 win in front of 14,525 at the FedEx Forum.

The Tigers (9-3) came out red-hot from the field, connecting on their first seven shots to take control of the game early and eventually built a 51-28 halftime lead. Memphis limited the Blue Raiders (4-7) to just 18 second-half points and never let them find a way to get back into the game.

Desmond Yates led Middle Tennessee with 12 points, while Theryn Hudson and Darren Avery tallied seven each. Kevin Kanaskie continued to be a bright spot as he tied his career high with eight assists and had just one turnover.

Memphis had five players in double figures, led by Doneal Mack's 18 points. Jeremy Hunt added 16 for the Tigers, whose reserves accounted for 42 of the team's 86 points. The Blue Raider bench had one of its most productive games of the season with 22 points coming from the reserves, which ties the season high for bench production.

The Blue Raiders experienced difficulty finding any offensive rhythm during the game as they shot a season-low 32.7 percent (18-of-55), including just 21 percent (6-of-29) in the second half. Middle Tennessee misfired on eight of its nine 3-point field goal attempts and shot just 11 percent from beyond the arc. The Blue Raiders also struggled from the free-throw line where they shot an uncharacteristic 47 percent (9-of-19).

Middle Tennessee will play host to Sun Belt Conference rival Western Kentucky Thursday at 7 p.m.

NOTES: Sophomore point guard Kevin Kanaskie tied his career high with eight assists and had just one turnover. He has led the team in assists in all 11 games and is averaging 5.8 per game ... Darren Avery's seven points are a career high ... Dino Hair scored his first career points in the second half on a goal-tending call. Hair was 2-of-2 from the field and finished with four points while tying his career high for minutes played with nine ... Nigel Johnson and Desmond Yates had several family members in attendance as they were playing in Memphis for the first time since their high school careers ...Middle Tennessee's 46 points are a season low.

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