Quick focus change as team prepares for FIU

Tipoff with Panthers set for 6 p.m. Saturday

January 28, 2011 · MT Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Blue Raiders will have little time to dwell on their loss to Florida Atlantic as they quickly turn their attention to Florida International with less than a 48-hour turnaround from the end of one game to the beginning of the next.

While the team suffered a loss there were a few highlights the team can use and build upon headed into Saturday's game with the Panthers. Junior Trevor Charles who had started the previous three games but did not put up big numbers changed that on Thursday night. Against Florida Atlantic, Charles scored nine points, second on the team, and grabbed five rebounds. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native further aided the defense with two blocks.

Senior Trevor Ottley, who has also struggled in the last four games, pulled down a team high seven rebounds against the Owls and had a block and a steal. R-junior Jimmy Oden did not have a full stat sheet against FAU but played solid defense to keep the Blue Raiders close late in the game.

Middle Tennessee will take away this positive play from its loss and use it to its advantage against the Panthers who are on a five-game losing streak. FIU won its first three games to open Sun Belt Conference action but since then has lost five straight including two at home.

Middle Tennessee leads the all-time series between the two schools 16-6 and has won three of the last four contests. The Blue Raiders have also won the last two games at U.S. Century Bank Arena, FIU's home court. Head coach Kermit Davis is 13-3 all-time against FIU.

Head FIU coach Isiah Thomas, in his second season, has yet to coach a full game against the Blue Raiders. Thomas missed the first game in Murfreesboro after the loss of his mother and then in the game in Miami was ejected in the second half after running onto the court to disagree with a call by one of the officials.

Middle Tennessee will travel to Miami for a doubleheader with FIU at 6 p.m. CST on Saturday, Jan. 29. Chip Walters will call all the action on the Blue Raider Network and live stats may be found on goblueraiders.com.

The Sun Belt Championships will be held in Hot Springs, Ark., March 4-8. Tickets for all sessions are $83 and on sale through the Blue Raider Ticket Office by contacting 1-888-YES-MTSU or purchase tickets through goblueraiders.com.

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 122 offensive rebounds and been fouled to make 177 free throws in the last 11 games. However, the team has been called for 48 more fouls than its opponents during those games. Opponents are shooting 70.8 percent from the charity stripe in those 11 games connecting on 230 of 325 attempts.

Happy New Year...
Middle Tennessee has traditionally performed well in January under head coach Kermit Davis. Currently, the Blue Raiders are 4-4 in the month of January. All-time under Davis the Blue Raiders are 45-34 in January including 40-30 in Sun Belt action.

Getting Hot...
R-sophomore Jason Jones has scored in double figures 17 times this season including the last 11 games. In the last 14 games, J. Jones is averaging 15.1 points and 5.5 rebounds in the last 14 games after averaging 9.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game to begin the season.

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