Blue Raiders battle but fall by one in double overtime

J. Jones, Sulton, Washington all score 19 points

December 7, 2010 · MT Athletic Communications

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the second straight game the Blue Raiders forced overtime after trailing much of the game but this time fell just short after being outscored by one in the second extra period to fall 88-87 to Belmont on Tuesday night.

Sophomore JT Sulton guided the Blue Raiders (4-5) scoring a career high 19-points after going 8 for 9 from the field and 3 for 4 at the free throw line. Sullton also had five rebounds, two steals and one block to aid the defense.

“Our team has showed a lot of courage to come back against Evansville, SIU-Edwardsville and now Belmont. We trailed by as much 12 in the second half tonight, I thought Trevor Ottley was playing well then he fouled out and JT Sulton was our best player for a long time until they fouled him out so we really had to go small. It was a really good college game. We held Belmont to 34 percent and their two bigs to 5 for 16 from the field,” head coach Kermit Davis said.

Senior James Washington and r-sophomore Jason Jones also had 19 points each in the game and five rebounds. Jones connected on seven of eight free throw opportunities and had one block and two steals.

As a team, the Blue Raiders shot 45.3 percent from the field including 52.4 percent during their second half rally to force overtime.

Middle Tennessee had 41 rebounds which were just three less than the Bruins (6-2).  Seniors Trevor Ottley and Rod Emanuel led the defense with seven and six rebounds respectively. The team also had a season high eight blocks with junior Trevor Charles and Ottley recording two each.

Fouls were also a huge part of the game as each team was in double bonus with 10 minutes remaining in the second half. The Blue Raiders committed 32 personal fouls allowing Belmont to shoot 43 free throws. Belmont committed 29 fouls allowing the Blue Raiders to shoot 33 free throws.

It is the first double overtime game for the Blue Raiders since Jan. 10, 2002 when they fell 94-88 in triple overtime to North Texas.

Belmont’s Jordan Campbell was unstoppable from behind the arc making eight of 14 attempts, which is on less than the most ever by an individual against the Blue Raiders.

To begin the game, Middle Tennessee took an early 6-2 lead but then Belmont went on a 17-6 run to take a 19-12 lead with 9:20 to play. The Bruins extended that run to 26-13 on their way to a 28-19 lead with 2:21 remaining in the half. Middle Tennessee battled and cut the lead to six to end the half, 38-32.

Sulton led all scorers with 11 after going 5 for 6 from the field. Washington also added to the scoring with seven.

Middle Tennessee outrebounded the Bruins 20-18 led by Ottley who had five. Middle Tennessee also had a season high six blocks in the first half.

The two teams traded points to begin the half and a trey by Washington cut the Belmont lead to three, 47-44, with 15:44 on the clock.  The Bruins began to pull ahead after a 17-8 run making it 64-52 with 8:30 to play.

The Blue Raiders continued to battle and a three by Washington but the lead to five, 67-62, with right at five minutes left in the game. Then a layup by Sulton made it a three-point game, 67-64.

 J. Jones went to the line with the team down by five, made both to keep the Bruins within three, 69-66. Then Charles hit a layup making it a one-point game, 69-68 with 1:45 remaining on the clock.

Emanuel tied the game and gave the Blue Raiders the lead after making both of his free throws with 30.8 seconds on the clock, 70-69. Hedgepeth made a free throw for Belmont to tie the game at 70 with 11.1 to play.

A key block by Charles and a missed three by Belmont forced overtime with the game knotted at 70 at the end of regulation.

The two teams battled and with 6.6 seconds Emanuel gets the inbound, drives the ball the length of the floor and makes a layup with .1 to force a second overtime.

Middle Tennessee returns to the friendly confines of Murphy Center on Saturday, Dec. 12 against Furman. The game is set for 3 p.m. or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women’s game.

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