MT returns to Glass House Saturday to face South Alabama

Raiders square off with Jaguars in post-Thanksgiving battle

November 29, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (5-1) returns to the friendly confines of the Murphy Center Saturday, welcoming South Alabama (4-2) for a noon nonconference contest, airing on CSS.


Date: Saturday, Nov. 30
Tip-Off: 12:05 p.m. CT
Teams: South Alabama at Middle Tennessee
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Arena: Murphy Center (11,520)
Television: CSS
Play-by-Play: Bernie Guenther
Color Analyst: Scott Sanderson
Radio: WGNS (FM 100.5, FM 101.9, AM 1450) / WMOT (89.5 FM) / The Game (102.5 FM, 97.5 FM)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Color Analyst: Kyle Turnham
Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats

Men's Basketball vs. University of South Alabama

• Middle Tennessee returns home Saturday to take on South Alabama for a noon contest airing on CSS. The Blue Raiders led the all-time series against the Jaguars 17-12.

• MT returned to its winning ways, earning an 80-62 win on the road at Murray State, marking the team's largest margin of victory so far this season. Five Blue Raiders scored double-figures as Eric Wortham Jr., and Jacquez Rozier posted career-best performances. Wortham and Neiko Hunter posted 17 points each, while Shawn Jones added 12 points and Tweety Knight had 11. Rozier recorded his first career double-double with career-bests of 12 points and 10 rebounds.

• The Blue Raiders were handed their first loss of the season Nov. 21, dropping a 79-59 decision at No. 16/14 Florida and snapping MT's nation-leading road winning streak at eight games. Neiko Hunter led the Raiders with 14 points and five rebounds, while Jaqawn Raymond had 13 points and Eric Wortham, Jr., posted a career-high 11 points. The contest marked MT's third game against a 2013 NCAA Tournament team.

• Middle Tennessee picked up its fourth win of 2013-14 Nov. 18, collecting a 76-59 win against UALR as senior Shawn Jones recorded his second-straight double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Kerry Hammonds II recorded 20 points, Reggie Upshaw Jr., had 13 and Tweety Knight added 11.

• MT's contest against Akron Nov. 16 was the second for the team this season against a 2013 NCAA Tournament team. Jones recorded his first double-dip of the season against the Zips, tallying a career-high 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Hammonds and Raymond put up 17 points each, while Knight added 11.

• MT earned its second come-from-behind victory of the season Nov. 13, claiming a 77-70 win over North Florida inside the Murphy Center as four Raiders scored in double-figures. Raymond and Marcus Tarrance led the way with 14 points each, while Jones had 12 points and Upshaw, notched the first double-double of the season for MT with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

• The Blue Raiders tipped-off regular season play, Nov. 13, picking up a 78-75 victory over 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Southern University. Hunter led MT with a career-best 20 points and six rebounds, going 6-for-11 from the floor and 3-for-4 from behind the arc. For his efforts, the senior was named Player of the Week by the Tennessee Sportswriters Association Nov. 12.

• The Blue Raiders opened the 2013-14 campaign with a four-game homestand, welcoming Southern, North Florida, Akron and UALR to the Murphy Center. MT hit the road for the first time Nov. 21, traveling to the Sunshine State to take on No. 16/14 Florida. The first five games proved to be challenging for the Blue Raiders as they faced three NCAA Tournament teams in their first five games of the 2013-14 season in Southern, Akron and Florida.

• MT was one of three teams in the country last season to finish 16-0 or better at home. The Blue Raiders are currently enjoying the longest active regular season home winning streak in the nation at 32 games.

• The Blue Raiders have won conference titles three out of the last four seasons in the Sun Belt Conference and look for similar success moving to Conference USA. MT reached the NIT quarterfinals in 2011-12 and followed that with an NCAA First Four appearance in 2012-13. MT reached the Big Dance last year for the first time since 1989 and the seventh time in program history.

• Of the eight returners from last season's team, there are six seniors suiting up this year in Kerry Hammonds, Shawn Jones, Zane Gibson, Neiko Hunter, Tweety Knight and Torin Walker. Last year's senior class was the winningest class in program history, posting a 90-43 record. This season's seniors have the chance to surpass that mark. This year's group currently has 76 wins, recording back-to-back 25-plus win seasons.


This will be the 30th meeting between Middle Tennessee and South Alabama. MT leads the all-time series 17-12, including a 7-5 mark at home. The Blue Raiders have won the last five matchups against the Jaguars. In the last meeting, MT picked up an 85-50 win inside the Murphy Center Feb.21, 2013.


South Alabama is 4-2 on the season, including two-straight victories to close out the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Mobile, Ala. The Jaguars claimed a 74-70 win over Wright State Nov. 23, before picking up a 79-59 victory over Houston Baptist Nov. 24. USA's two losses came against Texas and Southern Miss. The Jaguars dropped an 84-77 decision to the Longhorns as part of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Austin, Texas, before returning to Alabama to drop a 66-59 loss to Southern Miss in the same tournament.

The Jaguars are by Augustine Rubit this season, averaging a double-double of 16.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Barrington Stevens and Ken Williams are second on the squad, putting up 9.5 points each per contest. Mychal Ammons is second on the team in rebounding, grabbing 7.5 boards an outing.

In South Alabama's last outing, Rubit notched his third double-double of the season. He recorded 17 points, while collecting 13 rebounds. Williams was second on the team, adding 13 points. Dionte Ferguson and Aakim Saintil chipped in nine points apiece.

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