Hot-shooting Mountaineers deny Blue Raiders

Middle Tennessee drops 84-79 decision

November 17, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee's inability to stop Appalachian State's hot-shooting from the field proved pivotal as the Blue Raiders dropped an 84-79 decision in the final game of the First Shot Exempt Tournament at Murphy Center.

The Mountaineers (2-2) shot a sizzling 68 percent (26-of-38), including 8-of-12 from 3-point range to turn back the Blue Raiders (1-2), who put together another strong second-half comeback only to fall short at the end.

Appalachian State's shooting percentage was the highest ever against Middle Tennessee, besting the mark of 67 percent by Murray State in 1980. Appalachian State finished with five players in double figures and won despite being guilty of 23 turnovers and being outrebounded.

The Blue Raiders (1-2) had three players in double figures led by Kevin Kanaskie's 14 pints. He also had five assists. Josh Sain finished with 11 points in nine minutes and Dino Hair finished with 10 points off the bench. All 10 Blue Raiders who played scored for the second straight game but foul trouble and an inability to get consistent stops on the defensive end proved costly.

Appalachian State owned a 35-31 halftime lead and controlled the first half, but the Blue Raiders started strong in the second half and used a 11-6 run to take a 43-41 lead on Desmond Yates' jumper with 15:13 remaining.

The Blue Raiders appeared to have things going their direction and owned a 53-48 lead with 12:47 remaining; however, six minutes later the Mountaineers had turned the tide and led 69-58.

Middle Tennessee mounted a strong rally with Sain leading the way but it couldn't complete the comeback against the Mountaineers.

The Blue Raiders play at No. 7 Tennessee Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Postgame Quotes:
Middle Tennessee Coach Kermit Davis:
On the tournament:
"I would like to thank the people who came to the tournament these three days. I thought that our athletic administration and staff did a fantastic job from the arena, hosting the tournament and the kid's clinic today. Thanks to all the high school coaches who helped put the clinic on. I was very disappointed that we couldn't win our own tournament. I appreciate [Director of Athletics Chris Massaro] and the administration for funding the tournament. It was a first in Middle Tennessee history to have a regular season tournament and I thought the quality of teams were good. We are disappointed, but we learned some things about our team. We have to find some different guys to pick up the slack of the loss of Calvin [O' Neil]. We found some guys that can hopefully get us going in the right direction."

On Appalachian State's shooting percentage:
"We don't contest shots. We have no real grit and physicalness. We can't guard around the goal at all. We couldn't stop anyone. We started a bit and got the lead to about five, we are double-teaming the post and then we stopped rotating. We made a couple of substitutions and we just got tired and lost our way a little bit. We just didn't get the shooters or rotate out of our defense. It's embarrassing to give up 68 percent in one game and 62 percent against San Jose State. It's really disappointing."

On Freshman Guard/ Forward Josh Sain:
"I want to play Josh a lot. I think he has given us good minutes in the last two games and has been very productive. His attitude is really good. I can see his minutes increasing in the next two or three weeks."

Sophomore forward Desmond Yates:
On Appalachian State's shooting percentage:
"We just didn't guard tonight. Simply, we just didn't guard from the first half. We started a little bit in the second half and got the lead but for the whole game we really didn't guard. It was a great game by Appalachian State."

On the tournament:
"We wanted to win the tournament. It's a learning experience. I felt that we should have won. I think we are a lot better than all those teams, but we take it as a learning experience and get better. We have a 30-game season and have a long season ahead."

Junior forward Theryn Hudson:
On the team's foul trouble:
'We were out of sync defensively. Foul trouble affects us because we are not in the game. Desmond [Yates] was in foul trouble the whole game and he had some calls that didn't go his way. That kind of hurt us tonight."

On defense:
"Coach [Davis] said they shot 68 percent on us tonight. Tomorrow, we are going to work on defense."

On a 1-and-2 start:
"It's a good experience for us right now. It is a tough experience for us losing but it can only make us better."

Appalachian State coach Houston Fancher:
On tonight's game:
"Our offensive was very efficient tonight and I credit our players with that. We learned a lot from last night. When this tournament started we said that this was an opportunity to get better - we did that. We took major steps forward from last night. We came in here and played a very good basketball team on their home court. I believe the difference for us tonight was how we responded as a team."

On comparing last night's game versus San Jose State to tonight:
"Going back to last night's game we took too many quick shots. We weren't patient enough offensively. We were getting the first available shot and jacking it up. Tonight, we did a better job in being patient and ultimately getting the basketball where we wanted."

On coming back in the second half after Middle Tennessee had battled back to take the lead:
"The guys doing that are freshmen and sophomores. Our two point guards handled themselves beautifully tonight in terms of taking care of the basketball. Our wings really played hard. Middle [Tennessee] has guys who are really hard to guard off the bounce and I was really proud of how our big guys played too. Our seniors really stepped up tonight in support of our young guys on the perimeter."

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