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Rebounding and shooting struggles cost Blue Raiders

Jones bright spot with first double-double of career

December 12, 2010 · MT Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Early lapses in defense and shooting doomed the Blue Raiders in a 76-61 loss to Furman on Sunday afternoon.

The Blue Raiders shot just 34.6 percent from the field and were outrebounded 40 to 28. Three players scored in double figures led by sophomore JT Sulton who had 16. Sophomore James Gallman and freshman Shawn Jones added 13 points each to aid the offense.

“I thought the bright spot was JT (Sulton) in the first half, and Shawn Jones played with some purpose in the second half was active and that was good to see,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “Of any team I’ve coached here, we have struggled more in motivating physicalness every day in practice.  We have had to do more physical drills with this team than any other team.  The great teams, and the teams that you love to coach, are the ones you don’t have to urge very much.  We have to urge this team and motivate this team to practice every day, too much, from top to bottom.  Good guys, but just don’t have the toughness that we need right now.”

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Blue Raiders vs. Furman
Jones recorded the first double-double of his career with 10 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive side of the ball. It is the third double-double by a Blue Raider this season.

Furman started the game with strong shooting and ended play 53.1 percent from the field. The team also shot 50 percent from behind the arc led by Noah States who went 4 for 6. States ended the game with a team high 18 points as four Paladins scored in double figures.

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“Give all the credit to Furman.  They were very well prepared, played hard, with physicalness and toughness.  It is very disappointing for us, just from a physical standpoint.  I don’t think anybody in the country works on rebounding in practice any harder than we do, and did in the last three days,” Davis said. “Based on our preparation in the last three days with our team, this was very disappointing, but not surprising.  We were not really on the edge in practice, and it sure showed against a good Furman team today.”

The Blue Raiders started the game off slow trailing 11-3 at the first media timeout.  Furman continued to outscore Middle Tennessee taking a 13-point lead, 19-6, with 11:51 on the clock. With five minutes remaining in the half, Sulton had accounted for all but four of Middle Tennessee’s 18 points as the team trailed 33-18.

Furman grabbed 26 rebounds at the break and scored 19 second chance points to take a, 15-point lead, 42-27.

Sulton led all scorers at the half with 16 points with Gallman adding five. Jones led the defense with four rebounds while Washington had three steals.

Middle Tennessee started the second half strong outscoring the Paladins 8-4 to close the gap, 46-34. The two teams continued to trade points but the Blue Raiders could not close the gap as Furman went up by 20, 59-39.

The Blue Raiders will have the week off for finals and to prepare for their game against Evansville. Middle Tennessee will face Evansville in Evansville, Ind., at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18.

The following Tuesday, Dec. 21 the Blue Raiders will play host to Vanderbilt. The game with the Commodores will air on CSS with tipoff set for 8:07 p.m.

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