MT vs. Western KY Postgame Quotes

February 26, 2004 · MT Media Relations
OPERATION: FULL HOUSE: "Operation: Full House", the dream of longtime professor Dr. Aaron Todd, was a huge success on Thursday night. A Murphy Center record crowd of 11,807 attended tonight's game against rival Western Kentucky. It also went down as the second largest crowd ever between two current Sun Belt Conference teams and the fourth largest in the MT-WKU series.

EARLY BIRDS: In anticipation of tonight's sellout crowd, four Middle Tennessee students assured themselves of front row seats by arriving at the Murphy Center at 4:15 PM. Jonathan Hutton (sophomore), Derek Caruthers (junior), Kyle Kennedy (freshman), and Richard Walter (junior) said they always sit in the front row of the student section at home games, but never expected to have to arrive nearly three hours early. "This is what it's all about," said Hutton. "This is the way it should always be."

WIN MEANS WE'RE IN: With tonight's win over Western Kentucky, the Blue Raiders clinched a spot in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Middle Tennessee will not know its seed until the conclusion of the Florida International game on Monday night.

WEEKES SETS SCHOOL RECORD: Freshman Alex Weekes rejected eight shots against Western Kentucky to set a new Middle Tennessee single-game record. Weekes broke the mark of seven established twice during the 1991-92 season by Warren Kidd. Weekes' previous personal-best was four set against Alabama State.

BLUE RAIDERS TIE MARK: Middle Tennessee tied the program's all-time blocked shots record with 12 against Western Kentucky on Thursday night, which is a record that stood for 14 years. On Nov. 26, 1990, the Blue Raiders had 12 rejections against Kennesaw State. The 12 rejections, however, was three shy of tying the all-time SBC mark.

CUFFEE GETS DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Junior Michael Cuffee recorded his first career double-double in the win over Western Kentucky and only the second by the Blue Raiders this season. The Philadelphia, Pa., native tallied 16 points and a career-high 12 boards to pace the Blue Raiders over WKU. The 12 caroms matched the most by a Blue Raider this season.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Members of the media voted junior Michael Cuffee as the Alexander Automotive Family Player of the Game. Cuffee had his first career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

NO. 15: Tonight's victory ran Middle Tennessee's record to 15-11 on the season, which is the most regular season wins since the 1997-98 campaign.

DEFENSE BIG ... AGAIN: The Blue Raiders are starting to make a habit of playing suffocating defense at the Murphy Center. In Middle Tennessee's win over Western Kentucky on Thursday, the Blue Raiders held the Hilltoppers to a season low 30.3 percent shooting including 26.8 percent in the second half, while blocking 12 shots. Even more impressive is what they did to the nation's field goal percentage leader - Nigel Dixon. The Blue Raiders held Dixon, who entered the contest with a .699 shooting percentage, to just 2 of 12 shooting from the field. Over the past two home games, Middle Tennessee has combined to hold the opposition to 30.1 percent shooting from the field (35-116).

TIDBITS: The 14-point margin of victory over Western Kentucky on Thursday night was the largest by the Blue Raiders over the Hilltoppers since the 1977-78 season when MT downed WKU 98-69 ... Senior Tommy Gunn inched closer to No. 4 on the all-time scoring list when he tallied 15 points in the win over WKU. Gunn enters the FIU contest on Monday with 1,483 career points which is only one shy of tying Randy Henry for fourth ... Michael Dean collected six rebounds, which was his most ever in a Sun Belt contest ... Freshman Kyle Young recorded a career-best three blocked shots ... With three three-point attempts tonight, Tommy Gunn surpassed Freddie Martinez for second all-time on the three-point attempts list. Gunn now has 453 attempts ... With four three-pointers in the win over WKU, Mike Dean now has 60 on the season which ranks seventh on the single-season list ... The win assured MT of back-to-back non-losing conference records for the first time since the 1998-99 and 1999-00 seasons.

NEXT UP: The Blue Raiders will host Florida International on Monday in the final regular season game of the year. It will also be senior night as the Blue Raiders say farewell to their four seniors. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.