Road Weary Blue Raiders Fall to FIU 73-57February 27, 2006 · MT Media Relations
The Blue Raiders, who were playing their second game in three days, started the game slow and never seemed to be able to recover. Middle Tennessee also had to contend with a 15-minute delay at the 15:48 minute mark, in the first half, when the lights went out in Pharmed Arena.
Coming out of the facility related timeout, Middle Tennessee trimmed the Panther's five point lead to one, 9-8, when Krystle Horton hit a lay-up, but Iva Ciglar quickly answered with a jumper to put FIU back up by three. The Blue Raiders LaCondra Mason closed the gap back to two points with a three-pointer from the right side, but it would be the last Middle Tennessee bucket for almost five minutes, and FIU took advantage.
Florida International went on a 20-8 run to build a 14-point lead with 2:30 remaining in the half. Middle Tennessee trimmed the FIU lead to just six points at the half when the Blue Raiders went on their own run 10-2 to trail 37-31 at the half.
The Blue Raiders had a chance to be down by just four points when Mason stole the inbound pass from FIU with nine seconds remaining. Middle Tennessee had four missed lay-ups under the basket before time expired. It would be the epitome of the Blue Raider's shooting woes the rest of the night.
Middle Tennessee had a promising play entering the second half when Mason picked Laquetta Fergusson's pocket and dished the ball off to Chrissy Givens for the score to cut the FIU lead to four. It would seem Middle Tennessee came out of the locker room with momentum but it would be the closest the Blue Raiders would get to the Panthers the rest of the night.
Florida International built its biggest lead of the game when the Panthers were up by 24 with 1:21 left. Middle Tennessee proved why it is the No. 2 seed in the East, by showing the club might be down but the Blue Raiders wouldn't give up. In the final 1:21 of the game, Middle Tennessee outscored the Panthers 10-2 to cut the FIU to 16 to end the game.
The Blue Raiders shot an anemic 32.8 percent from the field as opposed to Florida International's scorching 52.9 percent. The Blue Raiders did out rebound FIU 40 to 37 and also shot seven threes.
Horton and freshman guard Johnna Abney led the Blue Raiders with 12 points a piece. Horton also led the team with eight rebounds.
Middle Tennessee is the No. 2 seed in the East in the Sun Belt Tournament. The Blue Raiders will play No. 3 seed Louisiana-Lafayette from the West at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Murphy Center.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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