Raiders open C-USA play hosting UAB
MT set to ring in inaugural C-USA season with BlazersJanuary 10, 2014 ·
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (10-5) opens its inaugural Conference USA season Saturday, hosting UAB (11-3) for a 5 p.m. contest airing on CSS. The first 200 fans will receive a commemorative coin, celebrating the first C-USA game.
Date: Saturday, Jan. 11
Tip-Off: 5 p.m. CT
Teams: Middle Tennessee vs. UAB
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Arena: Murphy Center (11,520)
Play-by-Play: Richard Cross
Color Analyst: Brian Oliver
Radio: WGNS (100.5 FM, 101.9 FM, 1450 AM) / WQZQ (102.1 FM)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Color Analyst: Kyle Turnham
Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats
This will be the seventh meeting between Middle Tennessee and UAB. The Blazers lead the all-time series 5-1, including a 2-1 mark inside the Murphy Center. UAB won five matchups in a row against MT, before the Blue Raiders claimed an 84-64 victory last season at home Dec. 5, 2012. In last season's contest, the Blue Raiders shot 50.9-percent as a team, while the Blazers went 37.3-percent from the floor.
MT head coach Kermit Davis is 1-3 against UAB, including a 1-1 mark in Murfreesboro. During his tenure at Middle Tennessee, the Blue Raiders are 8-3 in conference season openers.
SCOUTING THE BLAZERS
UAB is 11-3 on the season, including a string of five-straight wins from Nov. 27-Dec. 18. During that stretch, the Blazers picked up a 63-59 victory against No. 16 North Carolina Dec. 1. LSU snapped UAB's five-game winning streak with an 86-63 decision Dec. 21. The Blazers followed the loss against the Tigers with a 69-57 victory against Alabama A&M Dec. 29 and a 96-75 win against Newberry College Jan. 4.
Against Newberry, six Blazers tallied double-figures as Chad Frazier led the charge with 18 points, while CJ Washington recorded 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds to complete the double-double. Frazier handed out a game-high seven assists, while collecting six boards. Fahro Alihodzic and Robert Williams each posted 14 points, while Alihodzic also snagged seven rebounds. Jordan Swing and Rod Rucker rounded out the double-digit scoring for UAB, adding 11 points apiece. Rucker also dished out six assists, while pulling down seven rebounds.
On the season, Frazier leads UAB, averaging 17.6 points per game. Washington is second on the team, registering 14.5 points a contest, while collecting a team-high 7.6 rebounds an outing. Rucker is averaging 10.8 points and 7.4 boards a game, while Alihodzic posts 10.1 points per contest and 7.4 rebounds a night.
BLUE RAIDER BULLETS
• Middle Tennessee opens its inaugural Conference USA season, hosting UAB Saturday on CSS. The Blue Raiders have won 24-straight home conference games and put that streak on the line against the Blazers. MT's last home conference loss came Jan. 13, 2011 against Florida Atlantic via a 71-61 decision. The Raiders have also have strung together 16-straight conference victories, dating back to a 66-60 overtime loss at Arkansas State Jan. 3, 2013
• MT opened the New Year with a 74-66 win at Tennessee State Tuesday, moving to 3-1 against instate foes this season with its lone loss coming against Belmont Dec. 3. The Raiders are 9-2 this season when playing in the state of Tennessee with a 7-1 record at home and a 1-1 mark in neutral site games. The Blue Raiders are an even 6-6 in opening games in the month of January under head coach Kermit Davis.
• The game at TSU tipped off a stretch of nine TV games over the next 14 contests for the Blue Raiders.
• MT snapped a two game skid with a 79-56 win over Grand Canyon in the consolation game of Chattanooga's Dr Pepper Classic Dec. 30.
• Against Maine Dec. 29 senior Shawn Jones recorded his fifth double-double, putting up 16 points and grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds. The 20 boards marked a first for a Blue Raider since Napoleon Rhodes snagged 20 at UNC Greensboro Nov. 30, 2002. Jones was named TSWA Player of the Week for his efforts Jan. 1.
• Senior Neiko Hunter tied his career-best 20 points, which he set in the season-opener against Southern Nov. 10. Redshirt sophomore Jaqawn Raymond also tallied a career-high against Maine, putting up 18 points.
• MT dropped 69-48 loss at Cincinnati Dec. 21 as senior Kerry Hammonds II led the Raiders with 17 points, going 5-for-8 from three-point range and marking the first time a Blue Raider as made five threes since Raymond Cintron netted six against Troy Feb. 9, 2013. Senior point guard Tweety Knight paced the Raiders on the boards at Cincinnati, pulling down a career-high 10 boards.
• MT reached the 100-point plateau for the second time this season, earning a 102-52 victory over Tennessee Temple Dec. 17 and moving to 2-1 against in-state foes this season as six Blue Raiders scored double-figures. The 50-point win matched the largest margin of victory for MT this season, which was set against Fisk Dec. 9. Freshman Reggie Upshaw, Jr., led the Blue Raiders against Tennessee Temple with a career-high 18 points, while Tharone Chilton also notched a career-best with 11 points.
• MT took on its fifth 2013 NCAA Tournament team of the season Dec. 14, dropping a 72-63 decision on the road at reigning SEC Tournament Champion Ole Miss. Jones recorded a double-double of the 18 points and 15 boards. His 15 rebounds against the Rebels marked the first time an MT player collected 15 boards in a game since Lee Nosse grabbed 15 in a 94-88 loss to New Mexico Jan. 10, 2002. Jones went on to earn Player of the Week honors from C-USA and the TSWA Dec. 16 and 17, respectively.
• Knight handed out a career-best 10 assists at Ole Miss Dec. 14, marking the first time a Blue Raider has recorded 10 assists since James Washington dished out 11 against Cumberland Nov. 27, 2009.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
More Men's Basketball NewsApr 16, 2014: Raiders add three to 2014-15 signing class
Apr 15, 2014: Jones invited to Portsmouth Invitational
Apr 1, 2014: Jones to participate in All-Star game at the Final Four
Mar 31, 2014: Towe steps down from post with MT hoops
Mar 17, 2014: Jones earns NABC All-District honors
Mar 15, 2014: Hunter named C-USA All-Tournament Team