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Raiders head to Tulsa for Thursday showdown

MT set for first C-USA road swing

January 22, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (12-6, 2 -1 C-USA) hits the road for its first Conference USA away game Thursday, taking on Tulsa (8-10, 3-1 C-USA) for an 8 p.m. tip-off airing on Fox Sports 1. 

GAME INFORMATION

Date: Thursday, Jan. 23
Tip-Off: 8 p.m. CT
Teams: Middle Tennessee at Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla.
Arena: Donald W. Reynolds Center (8,355)
Television: Fox Sports 1
Play-by-Play: Adam Alexander
Color Analyst: Dan Bonner
Radio: WGNS (100.5 FM, 101.9 FM, 1450 AM) / WMOT (89.5 FM) / The Game 2 (94.9 FM)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Live Audio | Live Stats

THE SERIES

This will be the first meeting between Middle Tennessee and Tulsa.

SCOUTING TULSA

The Golden Hurricane squad is 8-10 on the season and tied for second in the C-USA standings with a 3-1 record in conference play. TU is 6-2 at home this season, while MT is 2-3 on the road.

Tulsa opened C-USA play with a 97-71 victory against Tulane Jan. 9 and followed that with a 75-71 win over Southern Miss Jan. 12. Charlotte handed the Golden Hurricane its first loss in the league play Jan. 16 with a 90-86 overtime decision. TU continued its C-USA road swing Jan. 18, rebounding with a 69-52 win at Marshall.

In the team's last outing against the Herd, James Woodard led Tulsa with a 17 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Rashad Ray was second on the team, chipping in 13 points for the Golden Hurricane, while Brandon Swannegan added 10 points to go along with three blocked shots.

On the season, Woodard paces TU, averaging 14.5 points per game and 6.0 boards a contest. Smith puts up 12.4 points and snags 5.4 rebounds an outing, while Shaquille Harrison rounds out the double-figure averages for Tulsa with 10.8 points a game.

In conference only play, Harrison leads the way, averaging 15.5 points and 4.0 rebounds over the last four games for Tulsa. Woodard is second on the team, recording 14.8 points and collecting 6.3 boards per contest in C-USA games. Ray and D'Andre Wright are posting 11.8 and 10.0 points an outing, respectively.

BLUE RAIDER BULLETS

• The Blue Raiders head to Tulsa Thursday for their first C-USA road contest. The game will air on Fox Sports 1, marking MT's first national C-USA broadcast.

• In the NCAA statistical rankings released Jan. 20, two MT seniors landed in the top 25 in two different categories. Forward Shawn Jones ranks 21st in the NCAA and second in C-USA in field goal percentage, shooting 58.2 from the floor, while point guard Tweety Knight is 21st in the nation and second in the league in total steals, swiping 41. Knight sits 27th in steals per game with 2.28.

• With 248 points this season, Jones had recorded 901 career-points, just 99 shy of joining the 1,000-point club. With 511 career rebounds, he is looking to become just the 15th player in program history to amass 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

• With an 80-58 victory over UTSA Jan. 18, MT moved to 9-2 at home this season. The Raiders are 40-4 inside Murphy Center over the last three seasons. MT 11-3 this season when playing in the state of Tennessee with a 9-2 record at home and a 1-1 mark in neutral site games.

• UTEP snapped a three-game winning streak for MT with a 63-54 decision Jan. 16. The loss ended the Raiders' 17-game conference win-streak, dating back to a 66-60 overtime loss at Arkansas State Jan. 3, 2013. MT was also enjoying a 25-game home conference win-streak. MT's last home conference loss came Jan. 13, 2011 against Florida Atlantic via a 71-61 decision.

Neiko Hunter led the Raiders against UTEP with 13 points, while Knight swiped a career-high six steals against the Miners, marking the first time a Blue Raider has grabbed five or more steals since Knight snagged five at Akron Dec. 2, 2012.

• With an 89-84 overtime victory against UAB Jan. 11, the Blue Raiders became the fifth MT program to win its opening C-USA game, joining the women's basketball, soccer, volleyball and football teams.

• Jones led MT with 22 points against UAB, marking his third 20-point contest this season. Three other Blue Raiders tallied double-figures, marking the 12th time this season four or more players have scored double-digits. Against the Blazers, Kerry Hammonds II had 17 points, while Reggie Upshaw, Jr. and Neiko Hunter posted 15 and 12 points, respectively.

• The game at Tennessee State Jan. 7 tipped off a stretch of nine TV games over the next 14 contests for the Blue Raiders.

• MT opened the New Year with a 74-66 win at TSU, moving to 3-1 against instate foes this season with its lone loss coming against Belmont Dec. 3. The Blue Raiders are an even 6-6 in opening games in the month of January under head coach Kermit Davis.

• Jones collected his sixth double-double of the season at TSU and ranks fifth in C-USA and 47th in the NCAA statistical rankings.

• 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, Jones recorded a double-double of 16 points and 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.

• Hunter tied his career-best 20 points against the Black Bears, which he set in the season-opener against Southern Nov. 10. Jaqawn Raymond also tallied a career-high, putting up 18 points.

• MT dropped 69-48 loss at Cincinnati Dec. 21 as Hammonds 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 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 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.

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