Raymond's last possession heroics lift MT past Marshall, 56-53

Raiders extend winning-streak to nine

February 22, 2014 · @MTAthletics

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (21-7, 11-2 C-USA) snuck past Marshall (9-19, 3-10 C-USA) 56-53 off of a three-pointer from Jaqawn Raymond as the shot clock expired with 19 seconds to go to keep the Blue Raiders' winning streak alive Saturday afternoon in Cam Henderson Center.

The victory extends MT's winning streak to nine games as the Raiders hold on to the top spot in the Conference USA standings. Raymond led MT with 17 points on the day and came up big from long range for the Raiders, going 5-for-8 from behind the arc. The five treys marked a career-best for the redshirt sophomore. Two other Blue Raiders posted double-figures as freshman Reggie Upshaw and senior Neiko Hunter tallied 10 points each.

Men's Basketball vs. Marshall
"It's just a February road win," said MT head coach Kermit Davis. "I thought we got outplayed most of the game because of 50/50 balls. It was just uncharacteristically of us to be loose with the ball, nothing that Marshall did. We were just loose with the ball. In the end, we gathered ourselves. I thought our freshman Reggie Upshaw was terrific down the stretch and Jaqawn Raymond. One thing, I'm proud of Kerry Hammonds. He wasn't at his best and he feels bad for that, but just to have the confidence and the experience to make big plays that he did at the end, I'm proud of him and Jaqawn Raymond."

After hitting a three early in the first half, Kerry Hammonds II struggled from the floor for the remainder of the contest. However, the senior proved to be clutch with 3:42 to go, hitting back-to-back threes as the Raiders regained the lead 51-49 with just less than three minutes to play.

Hammonds tried from long distance once again with 2:03 to go, but missed as Marshall's Ryan Taylor collected the defensive rebound. Kareem Canty hit a jumper in the paint for the Herd to tie things up at 51-51 with 1:51 on the clock.

The Raiders called a timeout to settle down and with 1:08 remaining, Upshaw drained a jumper just inside the three-point line to push MT in front 53-51. The Herd answered with a jumper from Canty to knot things up for the sixth and final time at 53-53 with 54 seconds left.

MT ran its offense, but the Marshall defense held strong, not giving the Raiders an open look. Middle Tennessee ran the shot clock down trying to find a good shot and Raymond scrambled around a defender and launched a three at the top of the key as the shot clock expired with the ball in the air. The three-ball fell, giving the Raiders a three-point advantage with 19 seconds remaining.

Marshall brought the ball up the court and called time once the Herd crossed the timeline. The Blue Raider defense held for the final 13 seconds as Marshall forced a shot that wouldn't fall. MT went on to claim the 56-53 victory.

The Thundering Herd was led by Taylor with 16 points, while Canty was second the team with 13 points. Canty handed out a team-best five assists, while Taylor snagged a team-high seven rebounds.
Hammonds recorded nine points on the day, going 3-for-10 from the floor, while dishing out a game and career-high eight assists. Senior Shawn Jones collected a game-best eight boards and five blocks.

On the day, MT shot 42.9-percent from the floor and 43.5-perfect from three-point range, while Marshall was 38.2-percent from the floor and 28.6-percent from long distance. The Raiders won the battle of the boards 34-31, while Marshall outscored MT in the paint 24-16. Middle Tennessee turned Marshall's 14 turnovers into nine points, while the Herd capitalized on MT's 18 miscues and scored 20 points off turnovers.

The Blue Raiders return to action Thursday, Feb. 27, traveling to Louisiana Tech for a 6:30 p.m. tip-off in C-USA action.

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