Yates joins 1,000-point club with team-high 21 vs. UT-Martin

Strong effort not enough in 72-65 setback

December 15, 2008 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee junior forward Desmond "Boogie" Yates scored 21 points to become the 28th member of the program's 1,000-point club but it wasn't enough as the Blue Raiders suffered a 72-65 loss to UT-Martin at Murphy Center Monday night.

The Blue Raiders (4-4) started slow and never were able to fully recover. Their usually strong defense allowed UT-Martin to shoot 52 percent, including 60 percent (15-of-25) in the first half, and a generally flawless backcourt was responsible for seven of the team's uncharacteristic 19 turnovers.

The game featured two of the state's highest-scoring players in Yates and UT-Martin's NBA Prospect Lester Hudson. Neither disappointed but it was Hudson's team that escaped Murphy Center with the win. Hudson scored a game-high 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting including 3-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. He was the only Skyhawk with double figures.

Yates led three Blue Raiders in double figures with his team-high 21. Kevin Kanaskie added 16 points and Demetrius Green netted 11. Montarrio Haddock contributed eight points and a game-high eight rebounds off the bench.

Yates entered the game needing 14 points to reach the 1,000-point milestone and he reached the mark with the second of two free throws with 7:43 remaining to pull the Blue Raiders to within 54-49 with 7:43 remaining. He scored eight straight points during the stretch. He capped the run with a 3-pointer to close the Blue Raiders to within 57-54 with 5:33 remaining, and Kanaskie's layup narrowed the deficit to 57-56 one possession later. It would be as close as Middle Tennessee would get the remainder of the game.

Middle Tennessee fell behind by as many as 14 in the first half and trailed 40-29 at the half but the stormed out of the gate with a 9-3 run to start the second frame. The Blue Raiders took their first lead since early in the game on Haddock's 3-pointer with 10:52 remaining, 47-46, but UT-Martin answered with an 8-0 run and Middle Tennessee could never get back over the hump.

The Blue Raiders return to action at Belmont Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Middle Tennessee Postgame Quotes
MT Head Coach Kermit Davis
On tonight's game:
"I thought UT-Martin was more physical tonight than any of their games I saw on tape. They were a determined team tonight, more physical than we were, and they made everything tough for us around the basket. We couldn't finish from four to six feet from the basket, and then Lester Hudson was a man among boys tonight. He really played within himself; he didn't force anything and let the game come to him."

On 19 turnovers:
"I thought they were physical and our ball movement was the worst it's been all year. That's when we've been good with ball reversals and extra passes but we settled for jump shots and didn't pass. We didn't do very well on defense either."

On UT-Martin's physicality:
"The first 10 minutes of the game they came out really determined offensively and drove to the basket. But then we got it back to five, then it was 13, then we took the lead but we couldn't get stops. We just couldn't get stops when we needed to tonight."

Junior forward Desmond Yates
On beating themselves tonight:
"We killed ourselves on defense tonight. They shot 52 percent and one thing we try to pride ourselves on is playing good defense and we didn't do that tonight. We also had a lot of turnovers. Plain and simple we got out-toughed tonight."

On game plan for tonight:
"We didn't want (Lester) Hudson to get off to a good start but we didn't want anyone else to either. He's a good player and he got 28 tonight and we knew he was going to get his but the game plan was to stop everyone tonight. We just couldn't do that tonight."

On halftime message:
"Coach got on us just like he should have. We weren't getting any stops. They had 40 points at halftime so he got on us to come out with more energy in the second half. We started off good but down the stretch we couldn't get any stops and that's what killed us."

Junior forward Montarrio Haddock
On 3-pointer that gave team lead in second half:

"When it went in I thought the game was ours. I thought we were going to go on a little streak but we kept breaking down defensively again. We gave them too many cheap baskets tonight."

UT-Martin Senior Guard Lester Hudson
On Tonight's Game:

"I shot really well tonight because I let the offense come to me. My teammates took care of the ball and got me the ball when I needed it. This game is big for our program. We lost four in a row and they are a good team. It was a good opportunity for a NCAA win. But our focus is always winning the OVC first. We have to go out and play hard like tonight and we should do well in the OVC."

On NBA scouts being a Hudson's games:
"There has been an NBA scout at every game I've played. Early this season, I haven't played very well. Tonight I picked it back up."

On his personal attitude:
"It's all about passion. All things passion. On the defensive side of the ball, rebounding, shooting and getting in the lane. That's it, passion."

On Middle Tennessee's defense tonight:
"They played a good man tonight. When they played zone some of my other teammates were able to open up for me. They were about to score when they got the ball which gave me more one-on-one situations."

On Middle Tennessee's early second half scoring run:
"Early in the year, when we were up and then started losing in a game we would lose our focus. Tonight, we were just saying keep your composure and don't lose our focus because they are a good basketball team and they are going to make runs. That came from the confidence when we were able to get up early in the game. It's all about defense. We able to limit them to one shot most of the night."

UT-Martin Head Coach Bret Campbell
On team's quick start:

"We haven't shot well this year. This had a lot to do with the shot selection this year. When you shot 50 or 55 percent as a basketball team, you're going to win a lot of ball games."

On dictating the game's flow:
"I've got a lot of admiration for Kermit Davis and how he coaches basketball. We wanted to match their intensity. His teams are very good basketball teams and they are well coached. Our goal was to match their intensity and we knew it was going to be a challenge. They came out in the second half, but we were able to weather that storm and come out with the win. It's nice to have a player like Lester Hudson who can come out and finish some plays for you."

On forcing 19 turnovers on Middle Tennessee:
"We just tried to be as aggressive as we could tonight. I thought we did a good job of getting in the passing lanes and getting them out of their comfort zone."

On team's fast start:
"Any time you get off to quick start it helps, especially on the road. We've been sluggish out of the block and for some reason we were a little more focused tonight. When you lose four in row your back is up against the wall if you want to win the OVC. There are not a lot of teams that are going to come in here and win."

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