Blue Raiders welcome in-state foe Tennessee State Tuesday
MT has won 17 straight regular-season home gamesDecember 17, 2012 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team returns to Murphy Center on Tuesday as the Blue Raiders host Tennessee State at 7 p.m.
Matchup: Tennessee State Tigers (5-6, 0-0 OVC) at Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (7-3, 1-0 SBC)
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 18
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Facility: Murphy Center
Radio: WNSR (560 AM)/WGNS (1450 AM, 101.9 FM, 100.5 FM)/WMOT (89.5)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Analysis: Kyle Turnham
Tickets for Middle Tennessee's game at Bridgestone Arena versus Vanderbilt on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. are now on sale. Tickets are $50 for courtside and $22 for lower bowl.
Students may pick up a voucher for the Vanderbilt game at the Blue Raider Ticket Office until Dec. 20. Students will receive one voucher per ID. Students will be admitted for free, but must show the voucher at Bridgestone Arena beginning at 6 p.m. Students may also purchase guest tickets for $5 but quantities are limited.
For questions, call 1-888-YES-MTSU or visit GoBlueRaiders.com.
SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN
Santa Claus will pay an early visit to Murphy Center on Tuesday when the Blue Raiders host Tennessee State. Santa will be available for photos behind section O on the track level prior to the 7 p.m. tipoff. Fans can have their photo printed on the spot to take home.
- Overall: MT leads, 38-16
- In Murfreesboro: MT leads, 21-4
- Under Coach Davis: MT leads, 4-0
- Current Streak: MT, 6 games
- Last meeting: MT 77, TSU 53 (12/1/11 in Nashville)
- Last meeting in Murfreesboro: MT 65, TSU 58 (12/29/10)
- Longest MT streak: 11 games (1984-89) // Longest TSU streak: 6 games (1993-95)
- Noteworthy: MT has won 11 of the last 12 meetings with TSU.
- Noteworthy: MT has not lost to TSU in Murfreesboro since Jan. 19, 1994 (TSU 66, MT 56).
BLUE RAIDER FASTBREAK POINTS
- MT is undefeated at home this season at 4-0 and holds a 19-2 record at Murphy Center over the past two seasons. The Blue Raiders have won 17 straight regular-season home games.
- MT has won three of the last five meetings against SEC opponents.
- Marcos Knight has scored double figures in eight of the last nine games and all but two games this season.
- MT has beaten an SEC opponent in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.
- After starting last season 4-0 and with the 5-1 start this season, MT got off to its best back-to-back starts since the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seaons. MT started 1986-87 5-0 and 1987-88 6-1.
- Raymond Cintron scored a career-high 22 points at Akron on Dec. 2 and Marcos Knight matched his career-high with 21 points in the contest. Knight also scored 21 at Savannah State on Nov. 13.
- The 97 points against Alabama State in the season-opener marked the most since MT scored 109 against Houston Baptist on Feb. 13, 2010.
- MT was unanimously picked to win the Sun Belt East Division this year by the league's head coaches.
- Four Blue Raiders earned preseason all-conference honors. Marcos Knight was named to the first team, JT Sulton and Bruce Massey to the second team and Raymond Cintron to the third team.
- Raymond Cintron was rated as the No. 39 shooter in the country according to CBSSports.com's Top 50 shooters.
SCOUTING TENNESSEE STATE
- The Tigers are coming off a 79-39 victory over Lemoyne Owen College on Sunday
- Robert Covington leads the Tigers with 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game
- Kellen Thorton (14.6 ppg) and Patrick Miller (10.3 ppg) are also averaging double-figure scoring
- TSU returns 10 letterwinners, including four starters, from a team that finished 20-13 and played in the CIT last season
- The Tigers are 1-5 on the road this season, with the only win coming at Alabama A&M on Dec. 1
LAST TIME OUT
Middle Tennessee kept it close against Belmont through the first half, but a 16-3 run to open the second stanza propelled the Bruins to a 64-49 win on Thursday at the Curb Event Center.
The Blue Raiders shot a season-low 28.6 percent from the field, while Belmont hit 50 percent of its shots. JT Sulton neared a double-double for MT with nine points and eight rebounds and Jason Jones added eight points. MT owned a 22-8 advantage in bench production and a 19-9 margin in second-chance points, but the Bruins' 36-24 advantage in the paint proved to be the difference. Belmont also out-rebounded the Blue Raiders, 39-37, and blocked seven shots.
HOME SWEET HOME
MT has continued to defend its home court this season after finishing 15-2 in Murphy Center last year. The Blue Raiders are 4-0 at home this year and haven't lost a regular-season game in Murphy Center since Nov. 20, 2011 when MT dropped an 87-84 double overtime decision to Belmont. That's 17 straight regular-season home victories for the Blue Raiders. MT is now 19-2 over the last two seasons in Murphy Center.
With 10 of the top 12 scorers returning from last season's team, it's no surprise that MT has a deep bench. The Blue Raider bench has outscored its opponent in every game this season, currently owning a 326-138 advantage.
The Blue Raiders have out-rebounded their opponent in seven of 10 contests this season. MT currently owns a 367-322 rebounding advantage, an average of 36.7 compared to 32.2.
TAKING ON THE SEC
With the win over Ole Miss on Dec. 8, MT has now beaten an SEC opponent in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history. The Blue Raiders defeated both Tennessee and Ole Miss last season. It also marked the first win over an SEC opponent in Murphy Center since a 93-90 overtime victory against Vanderbilt on Feb. 1, 1995. MT is now 1-1 against the SEC this year (Lost to No. 10 Florida on Nov. 18) and has won three of the last five meetings against SEC opponents.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Middle Tennessee was named the Mid-Major Team of the Week by ESPN.com's Myron Medcalf on Dec. 13. The Blue Raiders earned the nod after knocking off Ole Miss, 65-62.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES
Shawn Jones raked in the Sun Belt and Tennessee Sports Writers Association Player of the Week awards on Nov. 27 after posting a pair of double-doubles against UCF and Texas Southern. He tallied 18 points and 13 rebounds, both career-highs, in a 75-61 win over UCF. The Hialeah, Fla., native followed that up by setting a new career-high with 21 points and also grabbed 12 boards in a 79-52 victory over Texas Southern. For the week, Jones averaged 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 66.7 percent from the field. He is the only Blue Raider to start every game this season.
SWITCHING IT UP
Head coach Kermit Davis has used six different starting lineups this year. Through the first five games, Davis used five different lineups. Games 5-7 remained unchanged, and games 8-10 have been the same. In all, 11 different Blue Raiders have started at least one game this year. The only mainstay each game has been Shawn Jones.
All 10 Blue Raiders that saw action at Louisiana on Nov. 29 also scored in the contest. Through 10 games, six different Blue Raiders have been the leading scorer and seven Blue Raiders have combined for 25 double-figure scoring performances.
MT is currently ranked 44th in the Sagarin Ratings and 48th according to the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings. The Blue Raiders are the highest ranked Sun Belt team in both ratings.
The 97 points against Alabama State on Nov. 9 marked the most since MT scored 109 against Houston Baptist on Feb. 13, 2010. MT cracked the 90 plateau twice last season, scoring 90 against Austin Peay and 94 against ULM.
CINTRON RECEIVES RECOGNITION
Raymond Cintron was listed at No. 39 on CBSSports.com's Top 50 shooters for the 2012-13 season after hitting. The San Juan, Puerto Rico, native currently ranks sixth in the Sun Belt with 2.0 treys per game and leads the team with 20 3-pointers this year. Against Akron on Dec. 2, Cintron sank four 3-pointers en route to a career-high 22 points.
Middle Tennessee will also face four shooters on the list throughout the 2012-13 season. Florida's Erik Murphy, Texas Southern's Omar Strong, Belmont's Ian Clark and Tennessee State's Robert Covington were listed among the top 50.
The 2012-13 MT squad features two sets of brothers. Marcos Knight is the older brother of Tweety Knight, with both joining the Blue Raiders via Chipola Junior College. Zane Gibson is the older brother of Gavin Gibson, both coming to MT from Baylor School.
The regular season is underway for former Blue Raider LaRon Dendy. The 2012 Sun Belt Player of the Year has started every game for Kolossos this year. The Greenville, S.C., native is currently the team's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 15.1 points and 5.9 boards per game.
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