Yates' 22 not enough as Blue Raiders drop 69-65 decision at New Orleans
Middle Tennessee remains one game out of first in tight SBC raceJanuary 24, 2009 · Athletic Communications
The Blue Raiders (12-8, 6-3), down 65-58 with 1:04 remaining, put together a frantic comeback and had an opportunity to force overtime or win after Yates' baseline steal and emphatic dunk closed the deficit to 66-65 with 10 seconds remaining.
New Orleans barely got a timeout before a 5-second violation and then just got the ball inbounds with 11 seconds remaining and T.J. Worley hit one of two free throws to give the Privateers a 67-65 lead.
Middle Tennessee had an opportunity to at least force overtime on its final possession but Nigel Johnson's pull-up jumper from 5 feet was off the mark. The Blue Raiders fouled and Worley hit both free throws for the final margin.
Despite the tough loss, Middle Tennessee remains one game out of first in the SBC East following WKU's loss at Denver. The Blue Raiders also remain just one game out of the first in the chase for the overall league title as UALR suffered a home loss to Troy.
New Orleans led 37-32 at the half after blistering the nets for 52 percent (13-of-25) but Middle Tennessee improved the defensive effort and held the Privateers (9-11, 4-5) to 36 percent in the second half. The Blue Raiders shot 52 percent (11-of-21) in the second half and battled back to tie the game, 58-58, on Yates' jumper with 5:05 remaining but they could never get over the hump.
The Blue Raiders return home for two key SBC games beginning Thursday when they play host to Louisiana-Lafayette.
NOTES: Yates' 22 points allowed him to move past John Price (1,215) and into 14th on the all-time scoring list at Middle Tennessee with 1,223. Yates needs 19 points to move into 13th. Kanaskie's seven points vs. UNO enabled him to pass Render Carder (1,090) and Doug Shrader (1,094) and into 21st on the all-time scoring list with 1,094 ... Kanaskie moved within three assists of Gerald Harris' all-time mark of 463 with three against UNO. He has 460.
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