Yates breaks record in 84-74 win over Hilltoppers

Blue Raiders take season sweep over Western Kentucky

January 23, 2010 · MT Athletic Communications
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Senior Desmond Yates became the all-time leading scorer at Middle Tennessee in a historical afternoon for the Blue Raiders as they defeated Western Kentucky, 84-74, on ESPN 2.

Needing just 22 points to claim the scoring title going into Saturday's game, Yates scored 13 in the first half. A layup by Yates after a pass from senior Calvin O'Neil made him the all-time leading scorer at Middle Tennessee (11-10, 6-3) and extended the Blue Raider lead to nine with 1:07 to play.

"It feels good to break it against your rival and to get a win. I am happy to break it and it feels good but the most important thing is we won. I was told yesterday how close I was but it wasn't on my mind. I was just trying to score and get points on the board for Middle Tennessee," Yates said.

The Sommerville, Tenn., native ended the game with 28 points after going 8 for 12 from the field and 9 for 10 at the charity stripe. Yates now has 1,629 points in his career passing Robert Taylor who scored 1,622 during his career (1989-93) at Middle Tennessee.

"What a great week for Middle Tennessee basketball. To beat your rival twice and a great road win at Monroe and Desmond Yates, who is one of my favorite guys to have ever coached, to have an opportunity to break the all-time scoring record on national television and a win to push you into first place. It can't get much better," head coach Kermit Davis said. "We have a lot of work to do, a lot of improvements we need to make but we will take Sunday off and it will be a nice enjoyable weekend."

The win over the Hilltoppers (11-8, 4-4) also gave Middle Tennessee the first regular season sweep since the 1974-75 season. In less than a calendar week the Blue Raiders defeated Western Kentucky at home and on the road.

The Blue Raiders shot 54.2 percent from the field in the game after shooting 60.9 percent in the second half. Junior James Washington scored 18 points while seniors Montarrio Haddock and O'Neil aided the defense with 14 and 11 points respectively.

Middle Tennessee performed very well on the defense as well holding the Hilltoppers to 43.9 percent shooting in the game. Haddock, Yates, Washington and junior Trevor Ottley each had four rebounds as the team grabbed 22 total.

The Blue Raiders performed well at the free throw line shooting over 80 percent for the second straight game. Middle Tennessee made 23 of 27 attempts with Washington going 8-8 at the line.

The Blue Raiders jumped out to a nine point lead, 17-8, after Yates scored 13 straight. Middle Tennessee went on a 13-5 run for a 22-11 lead as the Hilltoppers called a time out with 10:38 to play in the first half.

Then Western Kentucky went on a 13-3 run of its own to cut the Middle Tennessee lead to two, 25-23. The Hilltoppers then took a two point lead but a three-pointer by Haddock with 30 seconds to play gave Middle Tennessee a 33-30 lead at the half.

Middle Tennessee shot 48 percent from the field at the half with Yates leading the charge with 13 points. Yates went 5 for 6 from the field and 3 for 3 from behind the arc.

Haddock and Washington added seven points each to the Blue Raider offense while Ottley pulled down four rebounds to guide the defense.

Middle Tennessee came back strong after the half extending its lead to six, 38-32. The Blue Raiders scored 11 unanswered points as Western Kentucky had a three minute scoring drought taking a 15-point lead, 55-40 with 10:47 to play in the game.

The two teams traded points and continued to battle but Middle Tennessee maintained an eight point lead with two minutes to play.

The Blue Raiders will return to Murphy Center next week playing host to New Orleans and North Texas to begin a three game home stand. The Blue Raiders first play host to New Orleans on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.

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