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Raiders ready for Mean Green Saturday

MT looks for first C-USA road win at North Texas

January 24, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (12-7, 2 -2 C-USA) continues its first Conference USA road swing, heading to North Texas (11-8, 2-3 C-USA) for a 7 p.m. tip Saturday.

GAME INFORMATION

Date: Saturday, Jan. 25
Tip-Off: 7 p.m. CT
Teams: Middle Tennessee at North Texas
Location: Denton, Texas
Arena: The Super Pit (10,500)
Television: C-USA Digital Network
Radio: WGNS (100.5 FM, 101.9 FM, 1450 AM) / WMOT (89.5 FM) / The Game (102.5 FM, 97.5 FM)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats

THE SERIES

This will be the 18th meeting between Middle Tennessee and North Texas. The Blue Raiders have claimed five-straight matchups with the Mean Green. Last season, MT picked up a 75-57 victory inside the Murphy Center Dec. 31, 2012. The Blue Raiders followed that performance with a 72-64 win on the road at North Texas Jan. 24, 2013.

SCOUTING NORTH TEXAS

The Mean Green is 11-8 on the year, including an 8-3 mark at the Super Pit. North Texas is 2-3 in Conference USA play this season with a 1-2 record at home in league games. NT opened the C-USA slate, dropping a pair of contests at home to Southern Miss Jan. 9 and Tulane Jan. 11, before picking up an 80-65 victory on the road at Marshall Jan. 16. The Mean Green then fell 76-74 at Charlotte Jan. 18. North Texas rebounded from that loss with a 76-65 against UAB at home Jan. 23.

In the team's last outing, four players scored double-figures as Alzee Williams led the way with 18 points, shooting 8-for-12 from the floor. Jordan Williams was second on the team, putting up 16 points to go along with five rebounds, going 5-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the line. T.J. Taylor and Colin Voss added 13 and 10 points, respectively.

On the season, Alzee Williams leads North Texas, averaging 12.6 points per game, while Jordan Williams is a close second, recording 12.1 points an outing to go along with a team-best 6.2 rebounds a game. Taylor is just shy of averaging double-figures, putting up 9.1 points per contest, while Voss is second on the team in rebounding, pulling down 5.9 boards a game.

Jordan Williams has really stepped up his offensive game in C-USA play, posting 15.8 points per game in league competition. He also leads NT on the boards with 5.8 rebounds a contest. Taylor and Voss are next on the squad, tallying 11.2 and 10.0 points an outing in conference games.

BLUE RAIDER BULLETS

• The Blue Raiders' C-USA road swing continues Saturday at North Texas as they look to rebound after dropping a heartbreaking 58-53 decision at Tulsa Thursday in MT's first C-USA road contest. Senior forward Shawn Jones led MT with 22 points, marking his fourth 20-point contest this season. The game was televised 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. Jones ranks 21st in the NCAA and second in C-USA in field goal percentage, shooting 59.1 from the floor, while point guard Tweety Knight is 21st in the nation and second in the league in total steals, swiping 42. Knight sits 27th in steals per game with 2.28.

• With 270 points this season, Jones has recorded 923 career-points, just 77 shy of joining the 1,000-point club. With 520 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 is 11-3 this season when playing in the state of Tennessee, including a 1-1 record 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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