Four tally double figures as Blue Raiders roll, 91-48
Green leads way with 20 pointsNovember 23, 2007 · MT Media Relations
There was no holiday hangover for the Blue Raiders (2-3) as all nine players who saw action scored. After Green's 20 points, Desmond Yates tallied 14, while Theryn Hudson and Nigel Johnson scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Middle Tennessee almost had seven in double figures as Broderick Gilchrest, Darren Avery and Uriah Hethington all had eight points.
"All nine guys played and all nine guys got at least six points and about 15 minutes so that was good," Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis said. "I think the timing of the game was good for us. Do we still have a lot of work to do? Yes, but I thought it came at a good time to get our guys thinking in a positive way."
The Blue Raiders came out of the gates slow and actually trailed Tennessee Wesleyan 17-14 with 9:27 remaining in the first half, but that's when Middle Tennessee decided it had enough.
"We had a timeout right there and the coaches told us we were not playing hard enough and our energy level was not where it needed to be," Green said. "We came out of that timeout and started playing the way this team is capable."
Middle Tennessee was resilient out of the timeout and put together 26-9 run the remainder of the first half to take a 40-26 advantage into the locker room. Tough man-to-man defense keyed the run as the Blue Raider forced numerous turnovers and converted them into easy points.
While the stars were several on this night, Davis said the game's MVP was Gilchrest - a freshman who created problems with his quickness and defensive tenacity and helped jumpstart the Blue Raiders from a standpoint of intensity.
"I thought if you we had a MVP of the game then it was Broderick Gilchrest," Davis said. "He came in the game and jumpstarted our team. He made a couple baskets when we were not playing with a lot of confidence on the perimeter. He really came in defensively, had a lot of energy, pressured the ball and created turnovers. He got us going from an energy standpoint."
Point guard Kevin Kanaskie did a fine job running the team with seven assists and he also added a career-high four steals. The Blue Raiders racked up 20 assists and 13 steals as a team. In addition to Kanaskie's seven helpers, Johnson dished out five and Gilchrest added four. Hudson had a game-high nine rebounds as he narrowly missed the double double.
The Blue Raiders never let up in the second half as they outscored the visitors 51-22 in the final 20 minutes to take the one-sided win. Middle Tennessee will play at Belmont Monday at 7 p.m.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE POSTGAME NOTES:
KANASKIE MOVES UP ASSISTS LIST: With seven assists against Tennessee Wesleyan, junior guard Kevin Kanaskie moved into eighth place on the career list with 281. Kanaskie past Lewis Mack who had 275 assists from 1975-77. Pancakes Perry is seventh all-time with 303 assists.
POINTS NO LONGER PREMIUM: The Blue Raiders have proven to be a more efficient offensive team than last year after the first five games of the season. Middle Tennessee is averaging 71 points during this stretch - up almost seven points a game from the previous year. Middle Tennessee's 91 points against Tennessee Wesleyan are the most for the Blue Raiders since they scored 92 against Freed-Hardeman on Dec. 18, 2005 - a span of 58 games. The Blue Raiders have scored 77 or more points in three of the first five games. They managed to score more than 77 points just once all of last season - a 79-59 win against Florida Atlantic.
GREEN BREAKS OUT: Newcomer Demetrius Green enjoyed his best game as a Blue Raider Saturday with a career-high 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. Green had 17 points against San Jose State in his Blue Raider debut.
ON THE REBOUND: Not only did all nine players who saw action against Tennessee Wesleyan score but almost every player had at least one rebound. In fact, five players had five or more rebounds, indicating Davis stressing that area is paying off. Theryn Hudson led the way with nine rebounds, while Kanaskie finished with six. Nigel Johnson, Desmond Yates and Green each had five rebounds. Middle Tennessee won the battle of the boards, 40-26.
FAST BREAK: Middle Tennessee had a moment in honor of John Wilson prior to the starting lineups. Wilson was a longtime photographer with Channel 4 and has shot video for the Blue Raider football and men's basketball shows for several years. He perished in a house fire Wednesday evening ... Middle Tennessee head coach Kermit Davis notched his 85th career win with the Blue Raiders Saturday as he moved alone into third place on the all-time wins list ... Kevin Kanskie's four steals tied a career high ...Kanaskie earned his 48th consecutive start against Tennessee Wesleyan ... Nigel Johnson tied his career high with five assists and the junior guard was also 4-of-5 from the field ... Middle Tennessee improved to 19-10 against in-state opponents under Davis ... The Blue Raiders are 72-7 under Davis when outshooting the opposition ... The Blue Raiders have hit at least one 3-pointer in 341 consecutive games.
Middle Tennessee Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Kermit Davis
On tonight's win:
"I think the timing of the game was good for us. I still think we had some afterthoughts of the [loss at Tennessee] a few nights ago. The first 10 or 12 minutes you could see our team did not have confidence. We thought that might happen and we as a staff said that we needed to stay real positive with our players and bench. I thought we got through it and started defending. All nine guys played and all nine guys got at least six points and about 15 minutes. It was good for Demetrius Green to get off to a good start. He is going to have to with the loss of Calvin [O'Neil]. Uriah Hethington told me yesterday that this is the best he has felt in about 10 days and you could see it. He was really hurt during the [First Shot Exempt Classic] so we have to have him healthier."
On the play of freshman guard Broderick Gilchrest:
"I thought if you we had a MVP of the game then it was Broderick Gilchrest. He came in the game and jumpstarted our team. He made a couple baskets when we were not playing with a lot of confidence on the perimeter. He really came in defensively, had a lot of energy, pressured the ball and created turnovers. He got us going from an energy standpoint."
On building confidence with a win:
"It is invaluable. There are not a lot of these games on our schedule. Every team we play can obviously be an NCAA Tournament team. I don't care if it is San Jose State or [Appalachian State] or Lipscomb almost beating Purdue. There are no games where you can just pitch one out there and win. This is perfect timing. Do we still have a lot of work to do? Yes, but I thought it came at a good time to get our guys thinking in a positive way."
On Middle Tennessee's up-tempo style of offense:
"I am going to get a lot simpler with our offense because I think some newer guys are going to be on the floor at different times. Tonight, we did that and no offense to Tennessee Wesleyan but we have got to be able to play fast, be under control and share the ball. I thought that 20 assists tonight were good."
Junior guard Demetrius Green
On coming off the loss at Tennessee:
"We took that loss like any other team takes a loss - we took it hard. We came out tonight and played harder. We are trying to play better day-by-day. [Coach Davis] made us work and made us play with the intensity level we know we can play. Our energy level has to say the same way throughout [the game]."
On the team's energy level:
"In the break the coaches told us we were not playing hard enough and our energy level was not where it needed to be. We like the fact that we finished with the energy because that gives us the momentum going into our next game."
On his game tonight:
"I knew I had to play big today because we didn't play good at Tennessee. We all came out with better focus and high energy. We came together as a team."
Junior guard Nigel Johnson
On tonight's victory
"We didn't come out with a lot of energy. Once we do that and get going then we start playing better and creating turnovers."
On the team's up-tempo style:
"In the up-tempo style we do not want to create really quick shots but if we have a good opportunity to go to the basket and take and open 3-pointer then that is good. We can create the open 3-pointers by penetrating and kicking out - that is a good fast break team. Tonight, we were just trying to get in the passing lane and follow the ball. We were trying to get the timing of the passes and create steals."
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