Blue Raiders Get Comeback Win Over IUPUI

November 21, 2001 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A 16-4 run to begin the second half and a strong defensive effort propelled Middle Tennessee to a 76-72 come-from-behind win over visiting IUPUI. The Blue Raiders held the Jaguars to 31 second half points and blocked nine shots to record their second win in as many games.

Senior Lee Nosse led the Blue Raider attack offensively and defensively with a team-high 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Teammate Tommy Gunn was the only other Blue Raider in double figures with 13.

Middle Tennessee (2-0) started slow in the first half, but creeped to within three points at 31-28 on a D'Marius Wilkes trey with 4:11 left to play. That's as close as the Blue Raiders would get the rest of the half, however, as IUPUI put together a 10-3 run to take a 41-31 lead into intermission. The Jaguars were aided during that stretch by an intentional foul call on Nosse, which resulted in a four-point trip by IUPUI.

The Blue Raiders stormed out of the locker room hitting three-pointers, blocking shots and making defensive stops. The defensive minded Blue Raiders held the Jaguars to just four points in the first eight minutes of the second half, which enabled them to grab their first lead of the game at the 14:02 mark on a Nosse jumper.

The game see-sawed back and forth until John Humphrey put the Blue Raiders ahead for good at 57-54 with a three-pointer at the 8:54 mark. Another three-ball by Nosse with 4:11 to play extended the Blue Raider lead to 67-58, which was their longest of the game.

Middle Tennessee went on to hit seven straight free throws in the final 1:20 to secure its second straight win.

The Blue Raiders will be back in action this Saturday at home against UNC-Greensboro. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 PM.

GOOD START: With the win over IUPUI on Wednesday, the Blue Raiders improved to 2-0 on the season. It marks the first time Middle Tennessee has started a season 2-0 since the 1999-2000 campaign. The Blue Raiders have not started a year off 3-0 since 1994-95 (4-0).

REVENGE NO. 1: The Blue Raiders have a lot of revenge games this season after going 5-22 a year ago and tonight was opportunity number one. The victory enabled the Blue Raiders to erase last year's 78-70 setback on the road to IUPUI.

BLOCK PARTY: The Blue Raiders rejected nine Jaguar shots tonight to equal the second most in a single-game at Middle Tennessee. The nine blocks were the most by a Blue Raider team since the 1992 squad swatted away nine against Morehead State. Lee Nosse led the attack tonight with four blocks, while John Humphrey added three.

CAREER-HIGH FOR TENNGREN: Senior Iiro Tenngren grabbed a personal best nine rebounds in the win over IUPUI Wednesday night. Tenngren's previous high was eight he set three times last year.

THIS -N' THAT: The Blue Raiders have now hit at least one three-pointer in 160 straight games - With one dunk tonight, John Humphrey has a team-high five on the season - Tommy Gunn's 13 points marked the 14th time in his career he has hit double figures - Lee Nosse notched his 27th double figure scoring game of his career - The Blue Raiders have now won the battle of the boards in two straight games for the first time since the opening two contests of the 2000-01 season.

MT Head Coach Randy Wiel: "We showed a lot of character and poise tonight, coming back from 10 points down in the second half. The team attacked well in the second half and that was something we didn't do in the first half. Being down by 10 at the half, I told them we had to come out in the second half and match IUPUI's intensity. We had too many mental errors in the first half and tried to get cute on fast breaks. I am really proud of the team's effort and how they attacked their zone. I told them in the locker room that we needed to pound the boards, because that wins games. This game was our first big test, and the defense combined with good offense in the second half."

"I am really excited about the crowd we had tonight, especially with the students gone on Thanksgiving break. The support of the fans and the community tonight was great."

IUPUI Head Coach Ron Hunter: "We lost our toughness in the second half and they came out more physical. They came out in the second half with a lot of intensity and we couldn't match it. We are a much better shooting team than 40 percent, but we were playing without our best shooter Brian Buchanan who was out because of an injury. I am really proud of my guys, but it was just an eight minute stretch in the game when it got away from us and Middle Tennessee took advantage of it."

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