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MT posts third-straight 20-win season with 71-49 win at Charlotte

Raiders extend winning-streak to eight

February 20, 2014 · @MTAthletics

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (20-7, 10-2 C-USA) held on to one of the top spots in the Conference USA standings with a 71-49 win at Charlotte Thursday night inside Halton Arena as the Blue Raiders move their winning streak to eight games for their third-straight 20-win season.

The Raiders improved to 20-7 on the season, marking their third-straight 20-win season. The last time MT recorded three consecutive 20-win seasons was 1986-89 (1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89). With the victory over the 49ers, Middle Tennessee moved to 18-2 in the month of February over the last three years, including 13-straight wins during the month.

Senior Shawn Jones led the Raiders on the night, posting game-highs in points, rebounds and blocks. The Hialeah, Fla., native recorded 17 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. He went 6-for-11 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the line. Classmate Neiko Hunter was second on the team, tallying 15 points and collecting six boards. Kerry Hammonds II registered 12 points and snagged four steals, while Marcus Tarrance recorded nine points on the night.

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Men's Basketball vs. Charlotte
Both teams opened the contest swapping buckets, but MT started pulling away toward the end of the first half. The 49ers cut the MT lead to four with 5:50 to go in the frame, but the Raiders closed out the opening half with an 8-2 run to take a 35-25 lead into the locker room at the break off of back-to-back three-pointers from Tarrance.

In the second half, Charlotte tried to chip away at the deficit, but the two clubs exchanged baskets for the first 11 minutes. The 49ers cut their deficit to eight with 9:20 to go off of a pair of free throws. Middle Tennessee then rattled off a 15-3 run to jump in front 66-46 with 2:22 to remaining. MT hit three treys during the spurt and went on to cruise to a 22-point victory.

The win made seven Blue Raiders become the winningest senior class in program history with 91 victories. Last year's seniors posted a 90-43 record over their four years.

Senior Tweety Knight added six points for the Raiders to go along with a game-high seven assists and four steals. Freshman Reggie Upshaw also recorded six points, while handing out a career-best five assists.

Charlotte was led by Terrence Williams with 11 points, while Pierria Henry was second on the team with nine points to go along with six rebounds. Willie Clayton and Mike Thorne each added eight points for the 49ers and grabbed six boards each. 

On the night, MT shot 46.6-percent from the floor and 50.0-percent from long distance, compared to Charlotte's 43.1-percent from the floor and 18.2-percent from behind the arc. Middle Tennessee also bested the 49ers at the line, connecting on 10-of-16 for 62.5-percent, while Charlotte was just 30.0-percent (3-for-10). The Raiders claimed the battle of the boards 37-30, while Charlotte outscored MT in the paint 32-28.

The Blue Raiders return to action Saturday, Feb. 22, traveling to Marshall for a 1 p.m. contest on CSS.

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