Hot-shooting Jaguars hand Middle Tennessee 75-63 setback

January 19, 2006 · MT Media Relations
MOBILE, Ala. - At first glance, the box score would indicate Middle Tennessee and South Alabama had a fierce battle to the finish here Thursday night; however, a closer look at one glaring statistic indicated why the Blue Raiders suffered their fourth loss in five games - a 75-63 setback in front of 2,266 at the Mitchell Center.

Middle Tennessee (8-8, 1-3) outrebounded South Alabama, 29-19, and made just one fewer field goal than the Jaguars' 23. Furthermore, the Blue Raiders shot 49 percent on the road against a team leading the Sun Belt; however, the hosts were pretty much in control from start to finish and never trailed on their way to the win.

The glaring statistic came from beyond the perimeter, where South Alabama shot 50 percent on its way to connecting on 13-of-26 3-pointers. Middle Tennessee, meanwhile, managed just 5-of-14 from beyond the arc.

South Alabama's hot shooting touch from beyond the 3-point range was Middle Tennessee's undoing in a 75-63 loss in front of 2,266 at the Mitchell Center Thursday.

South Alabama knocked down six treys in the first half and added seven more in the second to pretty much control the game throughout.

"We aren't doing a very good job defensively right now," Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis said. "We have usually been a good defensive team but we don't scare anyone right now. We don't guard the perimeter very well and teams have good shooting nights against us."

Marcus Morrison continued his hot streak with 17 points and eight rebounds - both game highs - while Bud Howard tossed in a career-high 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Junior forward Kyle Young continued his steady and consistent play with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while pulling five rebounds.

"It's disappointing because we've had some good practices and we were ready for this game," Young said. "They had a very good shooting night and that was really the difference. We haven't seen all the teams yet but this is a very good South Alabama team and I think they will have a chance to do well in March."

Middle Tennessee trailed 36-28 at the half and pulled to within 46-43 on Fats Cuyler's 3-pointer with 12:51 remaining but the Blue Raiders were unable to get any closer as South Alabama slowly pulled away and put the finishing touches on the impressive home win.

The Blue Raiders conclude the two-game weekend series at Troy Saturday at 7 p.m.

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