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MT looks to sink the Pirates Thursday

Raiders host Social Media Night and Turnbow Project

January 29, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (13-7, 3-2 C-USA) is set to host East Carolina (11-9, 0-5 C-USA) Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip-off in Conference USA action, airing on MyTV 30 for Social Media Night. 

There will also be a coat drive as part of the "True Blue Turnbow Project" Thursday evening at Murphy Center, where fans are encouraged to donate children's coats to the effort. For more information on Social Media Night click here and for more information on the Turnbow project click here

GAME INFORMATION

Date: Thursday, Jan. 30
Tip-Off: 7 p.m. CT
Teams: Middle Tennessee vs. East Carolina
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Arena: Murphy Center (11,520)
Television: MyTV 30
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Color Analyst: Kyle Turnham
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
Color Analyst: Kyle Turnham
Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats

THE SERIES

This will be the third meeting between Middle Tennessee and East Carolina. The Pirates hold a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series. The teams' first meeting, ECU claimed an 81-71 decision in Greenville, N.C., Dec. 20, 2001. East Carolina picked up a 65-63 victory Nov. 22, 2002 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The 2002 contest was the first for the Blue Raiders against ECU under head coach Kermit Davis.

SCOUTING EAST CAROLINA

The Pirates are 11-9 overall and 0-5 in C-USA play. ECU has enjoyed a four-game winning streak two different times this season. Its most recent win-streak was snapped by N.C. State Dec. 21 with a 90-79 decision. The Pirates then dropped an 89-82 loss to Georgia State Dec. 29, before collecting 79-71 win at Campbell Jan. 2.

PHOTOS
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ECU has stayed inside the North Carolina state lines for the bulk of its schedule, holding a 9-7 mark when playing in North Carolina. The Pirates have squared off with 11 in-state foes this year and are 8-3 with losses coming to Duke, UNC Wilmington and N.C. State.

In the team's last outing, East Carolina was led by Akeem Richmond with 18 points and six rebounds as the Pirates fell to Southern Miss 60-46 Jan. 25 at home. Caleb White was second on the team, putting up 13 points in the loss.

On the season, Richmond leads C-USA, averaging 18.8 points per game. He leads the nation in three-point field goal attempts with 243, in three-pointers per game with 4.70 and in total treys made with 94 on the year. Two other Pirates are averaging double-figures as Paris Campbell has 13.2 points a game, while White is putting up 12.2 points an outing. On the boards, the team is led by Brandan Stith, snagging 8.6 rebounds a game.

Middle Tennessee is tied for sixth in the conference standings alongside FIU with a 3-2 C-USA record, while East Carolina sits last at 0-5. As a team, ECU is second in the league in scoring offense, putting up 78.4 points per game. However, the cellar dwellers are 15th in scoring in C-USA only games, averaging 60.2 points a contest.

BLUE RAIDER BULLETS

• The Blue Raiders went 1-1 on their first C-USA road swing, dropping a heartbreaking 58-53 decision at Tulsa Jan. 23 before picking up their first C-USA road win with a 70-63 victory at North Texas Jan. 25. Senior forward Shawn Jones led MT at Tulsa 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.

• For the 13th time this season, four Blue Raiders tallied double-digit points against North Texas as Kerry Hammonds II led the way with 18 points. Neiko Hunter added 13 points, while Jaqawn Raymond and Marcus Tarrance posted 12 and 11, respectively.

• In the NCAA statistical rankings released Jan. 27, two MT seniors landed in the top 25 in three different categories. Jones ranks 19th in the NCAA and second in C-USA in field goal percentage, shooting 58.0 from the floor, while point guard Tweety Knight is 21st in the nation and second in the league in total steals, swiping 45. Knight is 24th in the country and third in C-USA in steals per game with 2.25.

• With 275 points this season, Jones has recorded 928 career-points, just 72 shy of joining the 1,000-point club. With 529 career rebounds, he is looking to become just the 15th player in program history to amass 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.

• Five of MT's nonconference opponents from this season are currently leading or tied for first-place in their respective conferences - Cincinnati (American, Florida (SEC), Murray State and Belmont (OVC) and Southern (SWAC).

• 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.

• Knight swiped a career-high six steals against UTEP, 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, while three other Blue Raiders tallied double-figures. Hammonds had 17 points, while Reggie Upshaw, Jr. and 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.

• Jones collected his sixth double-double of the season at TSU and ranks sixth in C-USA and 56th in the NCAA statistical rankings.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.