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MT hosts Tulane for Mardi Gras Night

Raiders eye sixth-straight win

February 12, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (17-7, 6-2 C-USA) returns to friendly confines of the Murphy Center Thursday for Mardi Gras Night, hosting Tulane (13-11, 5-4 C-USA) for a 7 p.m. CT tip-off in Conference USA action on MyTV 30 as the Blue Raiders look extend their winning-streak to six games.

GAME INFORMATION

Date: Thursday, Feb. 13
Tip-Off: 7 p.m. CT
Teams: Tulane at Middle Tennessee
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)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Color Analyst: Kyle Turnham
Live Audio | Live Stats

VIDEO
Men's Basketball vs. Tulane
THE SERIES

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

SCOUTING TULANE

The Green Wave is 13-11 overall and 5-4 in C-USA play. Tulane snapped a two-game skid with a 64-63 win against Charlotte Feb. 7. The Green Wave dropped a 70-64 decision at Old Dominion Jan. 25, followed by a 78-47 loss at Southern Miss Feb. 1, before rattling off two-straight wins. After edging the 49ers, Tulane picked up a 68-65 victory against Marshall Feb. 9.

PHOTOS
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In the team's last outing against the Herd, Tulane had four players score double figures as Jonathan Stark led the team with 17 points to go along with a game-high six assists. Payton Henson and Louis Dabney recorded 14 points each, while Jay Hook added 11 points. Ryan Smith and Tre Drye snagged a team-best five rebounds apiece.

On the season, three Green Wave players are averaging double-figures in scoring as Dabney paces the team with 16.8 points per game to rank fourth in C-USA. Stark is second on the squad, putting up 15.0 points a contest, while Hook averages 14.3 points and 5.1 boards an outing. Drye leads Tulane on the boards, collecting 6.5 rebounds a game to go along with 5.8 points per contest.

In conference only play, Dabney averages 14.4 points per game to tie for 10th in the C-USA statistical rankings. MT's Shawn Jones is third in C-USA only games, putting up 17.3 points per conference contest. Hook is averaging 12.4 points per game for Tulane in C-USA play, while Stark posts 12.1 points an outing.

BLUE RAIDER BULLETS

• The Blue Raiders look to extend their winning-streak to six games at home Thursday against Tulane. MT is currently enjoying its longest winning-streak of the season, after opening the 2013-14 campaign with four-straight home wins.

• Middle Tennessee picked up its fifth-straight win Feb. 70-68 victory at FIU Feb. 8 as seniors Neiko Hunter and Shawn Jones led the team with career performances.

• Hunter recorded a career-high 25 points, going 11-for-16 from the floor, while pulling down a career-best nine rebounds against the Panthers.

• Jones notched his 1,000th career-point off of a dunk with 10:24 to go in the first half at FIU. With 1,018 career-points, 568 career-rebounds and 142 career-blocks, he is just the third player in program history to amass 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks. He is the 16th Blue Raider to post 1,000 points and 500 rebounds and is the 31st member of the Middle Tennessee 1,000 point club.

• At FIU, Jones went on to post 23 points and nine rebounds, going 9-for-10 from the line. This marked his eighth 20-point performance of the season and fourth-straight.

• At Florida Atlantic, Jones tallied a career-high 25 points, going 11-for-15 from the floor to mark the first time a Blue Raider has made 10 or more field goals since Kerry Hammonds II recorded 10 against Louisiana Jan. 18, 2013. Hunter and Hammonds also tallied double-figures at FAU, putting up 19 and 11 points, respectively. Hunter also collected six rebounds, while Hammonds dished out a game-best five assists.

• In the NCAA statistical rankings released Feb. 10, two MT seniors landed in the top 25 in two different categories. Jones ranks 15th in the NCAA and leads C-USA in field goal percentage, shooting 59.7-percent from the floor, while point guard Tweety Knight is 19th in the nation and third in the league in total steals, swiping 52. Knight is 27th in the country and third in C-USA in steals per game with 2.17.

• Six 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), Akron (Mid-American) and Southern (SWAC).

• Four C-USA teams rank in the top 100 of the NCAA RPI released Feb. 10 - Southern Miss (34), Louisiana Tech (72), UTEP (77), MT (90).

• MT ranks third in the nation over the last three seasons (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14) with a 40-5 record in conference games, just behind Davidson (43-4) and Gonzaga (40-4). MT is tied for fifth over the last three seasons in conference road wins with Stephen F. Austin at 18-4, behind Norfolk State (19-2), Memphis (19-2), Davison (20-3) and Akron (18-3).

• The seven Blue Raider seniors are looking to become the winningest class in program history. Last year's seniors posted a 90-43 record. With 88 wins, this year's class is just three victories away from passing that mark.

• With a 64-48 win over Old Dominion Feb. 1, MT moved to 11-2 at home this season. The Raiders are 42-4 inside Murphy Center over the last three seasons. MT is 13-3 this season when playing in the state of Tennessee, including a 1-1 record in neutral site games.

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