Men's basketball opens Calgary tournament with 71-58 victory

Dendy paces Blue Raiders with 14 points, Sulton adds 13

August 17, 2011 · Athletic Communications
CALGARY, Alberta – The Blue Raider men’s basketball team kicked off its week in Calgary, Alberta, with a 71-58 win over the hosting Calgary Dinos on Tuesday night in the Battle of the Border tournament at Jack Simpson Gym.

“All in all, it was a good way to start,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “But with any college team this time of year, we’ve got a lot of areas we could sure improve in. Calgary is a very-well coached, physical team and it was a true road game for us. We had a big lead and (Calgary) got it back down to one, then we stretched it back to 18. That was a good experience we can come back to in November.”

Redshirt senior LaRon Dendy, who sat out last season after transferring from Iowa State, was one rebound shy of a double-double, pacing the Blue Raiders with 14 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward JT Sulton added 13 points and seven boards, while junior forward Jason Jones rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points.

“It’s been a long time since LaRon played in a regular game, so this trip is great for him,” Davis said. “He rebounded the ball much better in the second half.”

Davis wasted no time taking advantage of the preseason contest to evaluate different combinations of players on the court, as 13 Blue Raiders saw action in the first half.

“JT got off to a really good start and rebounded the ball well in first half,” Davis said. “(Bruce) Massey came off the bench, was good in transition and disrupted things defensively. Jacquez (Rozier) had a lot of energy and was on the floor during the stretch when we got it to 18. He competed well and played hard.”

While Davis was impressed with the Blue Raiders’ shooting and defense, which forced 33 turnovers, he already has zoned in on some areas of improvement.

“We had 26 turnovers and only seven assists,” Davis said. “Our ball movement needs to get much, much better.”

Middle Tennessee resumes action on Wednesday against the Alberta Golden Bears. Tipoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT and live stats are available by clicking here.

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