Blue Raiders change focus to UALR

Tipoff set for 3 p.m. Saturday and will air on CSS

February 18, 2011 · MT Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Once again the Blue Raider basketball team will have to have a short memory as it hits the hardwood just 42 hours after its loss to Troy on Thursday night.

Middle Tennessee bussed overnight to Little Rock, Ark., so it would have plenty of time to rest, practice and regroup prior to its game with Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. at the Jack Stephens Center and will be aired locally in Murfreesboro on CSS as the Sun Belt Game of the Week.

R-sophomore Jason Jones and senior Trevor Ottley posted impressive performances and were key components for the Blue Raiders against Troy. J. Jones scored 21 points, his sixth 20-point game of the season and second consecutive game with 20 or more points. Ottley had his second career double-double with a career high 16 points and 12 rebounds. Ottley also tied his career high for free throws with eight and had a career high five steals against the Trojans.

R-junior Jimmy Oden also performed well after subbing in for senior James Washington who struggled most of the night. Oden and sophomore James Gallman guarded Troy's Will Weathers most of the night and forced a number of his 11 turnovers.

UALR 2-4 in its last six games and is 1-2 at the Jack Stephens Center during that stretch. Solomon Bozeman is the only Trojan averaging double figure scoring with his 16 points per game. Defensively, Courtney Jackson leads the team with 5.4 rebounds per game.

In Sun Belt action, Bozeman is averaging 18.8 points per game and is shooting 52.2 percent from the field. Jackson leads the team in rebounds per game with 5.0.

UALR leads the all-time series 11-8. The Blue Raiders have had the recent success in the series however winning four of the last five meetings.

The game with the Trojans is the final conference road game of the season for the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee will wrap-up regular season conference play next Saturday, Feb. 26 at home against rival Western Kentucky.

Chip Walters and Kyle Turnham will have the call on the Blue Raider network and fans can also watch the game on CSS as the Sun Belt Game of the Week.

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 by visiting goblueraiders.com.

Blue Raider fans are invited to attend Kermit Davis Live! Wednesday night at Coach's Grill in Murfreesboro. Chip Walters, the voice of the Blue Raiders, hosts the show which airs from 7-8 p .m. on WGNS (100.5. FM, 101 .9 FM, 1450 AM), WMOT (89 .5) and WNSR (560 AM). Fans have the opportunity to ask questions by calling into the show at 1-866-RAIDERS, emailing radio@goblueraiders.com or submitting a question if they are in attendance.

This week's Kermit Davis Live! has been moved to Wednesday, Feb. 23 due to the Blue Raiders' travel plans to Houston, Texas to play Houston Baptist.

NOTES AND HIGHLIGHTS Stifling Offenses... In 11 Sun Belt Conference games, the Blue Raiders have held opponents below their normal scoring averages this season. In all but two of those games, Middle Tennessee has held their opponent to seven or more points below their average. Against Troy, the Blue Raiders held the Trojans 23.2 points below their normal total.

Quick Turnaround... Middle Tennessee will have just 42 hours from when it finishes its game with Troy to prepare for UALR. This time period includes an 8 and a half hour bus trip between the two cities. Then the Blue Raiders will have 74 and a half hours to prepare for Houston Baptist including travel. It will be the sixth time this season the Blue Raiders have had such a quick turnaround between games and just the second time both of those games have been on the road. The last time both contests were on the road there was just 30 minutes separating each team as it fell against Florida Atlantic and FIU.

Free Basketball... After not playing an overtime game since 2008-09 the Blue Raiders have played four this season. The Blue Raiders struggled in the first half against Troy. The team then battled in the second half and a bucket by Sulton with 6.2 seconds forced overtime. Middle Tennessee did not make a field goal and had just two free throws in the extra period and fell by four, 69-65. The Blue Raiders have won three of their last five overtime games and are 10-8 when playing extra under head coach Kermit Davis. In Sun Belt action, Middle Tennessee is now 3-3 in overtime games under Davis.

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