Blue Raiders snap losing streak with win over Tigers

J. Jones posts career highs to guide team

December 29, 2010 · MT Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – R-sophomore Jason Jones registered a career game as the Blue Raiders broke a four-game losing streak with a 65-58 win over Tennessee State Wednesday night.

J. Jones scored 23 points after making 10 field goals, both of which were a career high, and had a career high nine rebounds to aid the defense.

“He is out there all the time with Rob Moxley or Win Case, and a lot of our guys are doing that, but Jason more so in the last two weeks, on conditioning, shooting, dribble moves, just a bunch of different things on the floor.  Sometimes, those “sit-out” guys go through an early period of not having all their legs to them.  I think he sensed that he needed to step up for this team.  He’s cut down on his turnovers, but when he’s played well, he’s rebounded, and he had nine tonight to go with 23 points,” head coach Kermit Davis said.

Blue Raiders vs. TSU
Sophomore James Gallman also scored in double figures with 15 after connecting on five three-pointers. The Blue Raiders shot 44.6 percent as a team from the field.

“We did some things a lot better tonight.  Our shooting percentage was better, and we held them to a lower percentage than our opponents have been shooting.  We out-rebounded them 40-26.   I thought we competed really hard.  Jason Jones had a really, really good game,” Davis said.

The Tigers shot 38.5 percent from the field with two players scoring in double figures. TSU also had just 26 rebounds on the night as the Blue Raiders grabbed 40.

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J. Jones led the team in rebounds followed by senior James Washington and sophomore JT Sulton who each had five.   

With the win, Davis passed former head coach Bruce Stewart on the all-time wins list at Middle Tennessee and now stands alone in second place behind Jimmy Earle. Davis now has 142 wins in his career at Middle Tennessee.

“What that number means to me is that those two are great coaches.  Bruce Stewart had unparalleled success here.  Coach Earle started Middle Tennessee’s basketball tradition with a championship, so in the Middle Tennessee basketball program, it is quite an honor to even be mentioned with those guys,” Davis said.

Middle Tennessee went on an 11-3 run to begin play and did not let TSU score again until the 11 minute mark. Then the Tigers cut the Middle Tennessee lead to two, 15-13, with six minutes on the clock. The Blue Raiders pulled back ahead 19-15 at the four-minute media timeout.

Gallman hit a trey making it a five-point game, 22-17, then a jumper by J. Jones extended it to seven, 24-17, with 1:21 to play. The Blue Raiders took a six-point, 27-21, lead into the half.

J. Jones led all scorers at the break with four points after going 6 for 9 from the field. The Blue Raiders shot 37.9 percent from the field and scored nine points off turnovers in the first half. Middle Tennessee also had 17 rebounds at the break which was two more than the Tigers.

The Blue Raiders maintained a five-point lead to begin the second half and a three by Gallman put them up seven, 39-32, with 12 minutes to play. A bucket by J. Jones put Middle Tennessee up 10, 47-37, at the eight-minute media timeout.

Middle Tennessee kept performing well and a layup by J. Jones kept the lead at 10, 55-45, with five minutes on the clock. TSU closed the gap to four with 1:14 to play but five free throws and a dunk by Sulton sealed the win.

The Blue Raiders will be back in action on Sunday, Jan. 2 when they open conference play at South Alabama. Tipoff is set for 4:05 p.m. at Mitchell Center in Mobile, Ala.


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