Blue Raiders down Mean Green 78-71 Wednesday night

Snap UNT's 13-game Sun Belt win streak

January 5, 2011 · MT Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee trailed early but found its footing and took a 78-71 win over North Texas on Wednesday night snapping a 13-game Sun Belt winning streak by the Mean Green in the process.

The Blue Raiders (6-9, 1-1) who had struggled at times this season when trailing were not fazed when UNT (13-3, 2-1) jumped out to a 9-1 lead. The team kept chipping away and after taking the lead on a layup by senior James Washington gave it the lead it never looked back although the Mean Green tried to take it away.

UNT had not lost a league game since its last visit to the "Glass House" in which it also suffered a loss at the hands of the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee has now won all but one home game against the Mean Green in the all-time series between the two. It also snapped a six-game win streak by the Mean Green in addition to handing them their first league loss.

Blue Raiders vs North Texas
"North Texas had not been beaten in league play since Jan. 30 of last year when we beat them here. It is a quality team that was 13-2 and had won on the road at LSU by 20," head coach Kermit Davis said.

R-sophomore Jason Jones led all scorers with 16 points after going 7 for 12 from the field. It is the fifth straight game he has scored in double figures.

Freshman Shawn Jones broke out of a slump in which he had scored no more than four points to post a career high 15. S. Jones ended the game 6 for 10 from the field.

Senior Trevor Ottley also aided the team making eight of 10 from the charity stripe and scored 10 total in the game. Middle Tennessee shot 48.1 percent from the field, including 50 percent in the second half, and made 23 free throws in the game. The bench also guided the offense as it scored 52 led by J. Jones and S. Jones.

"I thought we got great bench play, 52-to-24 off the bench. We attacked them physically around the goal. I am just proud of our whole team. We rebounded the ball well and hope this win will give us some confidence and let us know that if we play the right way, they can play with a really nice quality of play," Davis said.

The Blue Raiders also performed well defensively outrebounding UNT 39 to 25 and had 16 offensive rebounds. Middle Tennessee also had five blocks led by junior Trevor Charles who had three and 10 steals with junior Jimmy Oden recording four.

UNT had two players score in double figures as it shot 41.7 percent from the field with Josh White leading the charge with 15. Defensively, George Odufuwa, who was listed as doubtful earlier in the week, had 10 rebounds and one block.

The Blue Raiders trailed 9-1 to begin play against the Mean Green but did not let that get to them. The team chipped away at the lead closing the gap to one, 16-15, after a shot by Charles. Then a layup by Washington gave Middle Tennessee the lead and it did not look back after a trey by Hammonds made it, 24-19, 7:54. The Blue Raiders continued to perform well taking a 37-28 lead into the half.

Middle Tennessee shot 46.4 percent in the first half led by J. Jones who had eight after going 3 for 7 from the field and making both of his free throw opportunities.

The Blue Raiders had 25 rebounds at the break with three players grabbing four. The team had four blocks with Charles and S. Jones each having two.

Middle Tennessee started the second half on a 6-2 run extending its lead to 13, 43-30. UNT started to close the gap getting as close as one-point, 54-53, after a layup by Johnson. The Blue Raiders then posted another solid 8-2 run to take the lead back out to seven, 62-55, with nine minutes to play.

UNT continued to battle and cut it to four after free throws by Shorter, 64-68, 4:44. Then two more free throws by Shorter made it a two-point game with just under four minutes on the clock. The Blue Raiders quickly answered with two free throws of its own by J. Jones.

Middle Tennessee continued to hold off the Mean Green and a dunk by Ottley with six seconds sealed the win.

The Blue Raiders will travel to Lafayette, La., for a weekend matchup with UL-Lafayette. Tipoff at the Cajundome is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8. Chip Walters will have the call on the Blue Raider Network and live stats may be found on GoBlueRaiders.com.

"I really think Lafayette is a much improved team. They played a hard schedule. I can watch tape and see their team getting better. They are very well coached. We have to play at a very high level on Saturday," Davis said.

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