Assists abound in Blue Raiders' domination of ULM

MT tallies season-high 30 assists on 35 field goals

February 23, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MONROE, La. - The Middle Tennessee men’s basketball team jumped out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back, cruising to a 94-61 victory over the ULM Warhawks on Thursday night at Fant-Ewing Coliseum. MT collected an impressive 30 assists on 35 field goals as all 15 Blue Raiders saw action in the contest.

With the win, MT clinched the Sun Belt’s best record this season at 14-1 in the league. The Blue Raiders also continued to set the school mark for wins, now with a 25-4 overall record.

Jason Jones led MT to a season-best 94 points with his season-high of 16 points, while JT Sulton scored 13 and Shawn Jones added 10. Bruce Massey tallied a game-high seven assists and Jimmy Oden added five as 12 Blue Raiders had at least one assist.

Men's Basketball vs. ULM
The Blue Raiders showed their offense prowess once again, shooting 58.3 percent, including a 68.2 percent performance in the second half. It was an all-around attack as well, with 12 Blue Raiders scoring a basket and four recording season-highs. In addition to J. Jones’ season-high performance, Torin Walker scored six points, Jacquez Rozier matched his season-high of four points and Julian Edmonson posted his first collegiate points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and a layup for eight points, as the bench produced 54 points on the night.

MT also owned a 37-25 advantage on the boards, paced by Shawn Jones with six, and dominated in the paint, 36-16. The Blue Raiders also took advantage of 10 offensive rebounds, scoring 15 second chance points compared to ULM’s one.

ULM (2-26, 1-14 SBC) finished the contest shooting 46.5 percent with three Warhawks scoring double-figures. Fred Brown recorded 13 points, Hugh Mingo tallied 12 and Charles Winborne added 10.

LaRon Dendy kick-started MT’s 8-0 run, scoring the first five points of the contest. Dendy finished with nine points to go along with four rebounds, three assists and two steals in just 12 minutes of action.

The Blue Raiders worked the lead to double figures at the 15:05 mark when Massey found Sulton for the slam to make it 15-5. MT cracked a 20-point lead when James Gallman nailed a triple and stretched it to as many as 24 in the first half on a S. Jones’ layup with 32 seconds to play in the early stanza. MT closed out the half on a 20-9 run to take a 46-23 lead into the break.

MT didn’t let up in the second half, quickly stretching the margin to 30 four minutes into the second frame thanks to an 11-4 spurt. Marcos Knight got things rolling with a driving layup. Knight went on to score seven points and posted four assists.

The largest lead of the game came with a minute to play when Edmonson drove in for his third basket, making it a 37-point advantage at 94-57.

The Blue Raiders wrap up the regular season on Saturday with a 5 p.m. CT contest at WKU. The game will air on CSS with Joe Davis and Mark Wise on the call.

Postgame Quotes
Head coach Kermit Davis
On playing like conference champions
“The key to that is we practiced like (conference champions). We had a lot of juice and a lot of pop. We played really well and I thought we shared the ball well. I don’t know that I’ve ever been a part of 30 assists. The 30 assists on 35 baskets made, especially to do it on the road, is phenomenal.”

On bench play
“We got good bench play and we just came out and played the way we’re supposed to play. LaRon started the game terrific. In the second half, we got to play a lot of those other guys. Julian is an offensive talent. I was excited for him, and the best part is our team was really excited for him. It was great to see Jason Jones play better. He had a lot more pop and guarded better in the second half. I was proud to see him with 16 points and four rebounds. We just had a lot of different guys play well.”

On using 15 different Blue Raiders in the contest
“We didn’t guard well in the final minutes, but I thought we moved the ball and shared it toward the end of the game. Not a lot that you can say went wrong tonight.”

Junior guard Jason Jones
On the team’s mindset
“This team, once again, we love to play basketball. It’s been a long year for us and we have a lot of work still ahead, but we’re grinding in practice every day and taking advantage to try and get better to prepare for the future.”

On letting off the gas after claiming the conference title
“Being in first place is a good thing, but we have bigger goals we want to achieve. We have to take every game one step at a time.”

On the 30 assists and bench play
“That’s a big number for college basketball. We share the ball, and good things happen when you do that.

“(Bench play) is a big thing with coach. Every time we come out he says we need great bench play. Tonight, everybody that got in took advantage of that opportunity.”

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