Blue Raiders return to Murphy Center

Tipoff with Troy set for 7:02 p.m. Thursday

January 19, 2011 · MT Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee men's basketball returns to Murphy Center this week looking to rebound from losses to Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State last week.

For the first time since opening Sun Belt Conference action, the Blue Raiders will play at home two straight games. The first opponent on the docket is Troy (4-13, 2-3), who will come to Murphy Center on a two game win streak after winning two home games last week, Thursday, Jan. 20 at 7:02 p.m. Then with a quick turnaround the team will play host to Denver on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.

The game with the Trojans will air on ESPN3 with "Voice of the Blue Raiders" Chip Walters calling all the action. Then Saturday's game will feature the 1977-78 Middle Tennessee men's basketball team in the annual "Legends Reunion Night".

Men's Basketball vs. Troy
R-sophomore Jason Jones continues to guide the Blue Raider offense as he has posted double figure scoring in eight straight games. The Memphis, Tenn. native has led the Blue Raiders in the last 11 games after struggling to begin the season. In those games, J. Jones has scored 170 points, averaging 15.5, and also has 64 rebounds, three blocks and 13 steals.

Freshman Shawn Jones has become a more consistent performer for the Blue Raiders since the beginning of Sun Belt action with two double figure scoring games, four blocks and eight rebounds.

Looking at the opposition, Troy has three players averaging double figure scoring led by reigning Sun Belt Player of the Week Vernon Taylor with 15.7. In Sun Belt action, the Trojans are averaging 82.4 points per game with Taylor and Will Weathers averaging double figure scoring.

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Weathers is averaging 20.8 points per game and 52 percent shooting from the field. Defensively, Bernard Toombs leads Troy with 8.9 rebounds per game and 31 total blocks. Toombs also leads the team in those two categories in Sun Belt play.

Middle Tennessee leads the all-time series 7-6 however Troy has won the last three meetings between the two schools including a 70-67 decision last season in Murphy Center.

Visit GoBlueRaiders.com for complete information on the 2010-11 Middle Tennessee men's basketball team. Tipoff on Thursday, Jan. 20 is set for 7:02 p.m. at Murphy Center with Chip Walters and Kyle Turnham calling all of the action on the Blue Raider Network.

Notes and Highlights
Playing Tough...

The Blue Raiders have been working in practice on being tougher especially around the basket. It has started to pay off as the team has 92 offensive rebounds and been fouled to make 139 free throws in the last eight games. However, the team has been called for 41 more fouls than its opponents during those games. Opponents are shooting 72 percent from the charity stripe in those seven games connecting on 188 of 261 attempts.

One of the Sun Belt's best...
Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis is second in all-time victories among active Sun Belt coaches with 76, trailing only Ronnie Arrow in his second stint at South Alabama. Overall, Davis is among the league's all-time winningest coaches in Sun Belt play with 76 victories and is fifth all-time. With one conference win, Davis will tie former UL-Lafayette head coach Jessie Evans for fourth on the all-time list with 77 Sun Belt wins.

In the Glass House...
Middle Tennessee won its season opener in the Murphy Center and are 4-4 at home this season. The Blue Raiders hold an 83-39 record at Murphy Center under head coach Kermit Davis.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.