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MT's win-streak snapped at LA Tech, 55-39

Bulldogs capitalize on Raider turnovers

February 27, 2014 · @MTAthletics

RUSTON, La. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (21-8, 11-3 C-USA) dropped a 55-39 decision Thursday night at LA Tech (23-6, 11-3 C-USA), snapping a nine game winning streak for the Blue Raiders.

MT now shares the top spot in C-USA with LA Tech. The Blue Raiders turned the ball over 19 times, while LA Tech recorded 18 turnovers. However, the Bulldogs turned MT's miscues into 25 points, while the Blue Raiders scored just eight points off of LA Tech turnovers.

Middle Tennessee's 39 points marks the lowest point total for the Blue Raiders all season. The 19 turnovers ties for the most this season for the Blue Raiders. MT recorded 19 turnovers against Akron Nov. 16.

"There are a lot of good college basketball teams that get beat here; that's why they have won 31 out of their last 32 at home," said MT head coach Kermit Davis. "They're really good. They just press all over the floor. They switch everything; they over play everything. They force players to make plays. We just couldn't generate the guard-play to try and make plays in the open floor. You got to give Louisiana Tech all the credit."

MT was led on the night by Neiko Hunter, Reggie Upshaw and Shawn Jones all scoring eight points each. Senior point guard Tweety Knight added six points, while handing out four assists. Upshaw led the Raiders on the boards, pulling down five rebounds.

LA Tech jump out to a 27-19 lead to close out the first half, but the Raiders responded in the opening minutes of the second frame. MT used a 7-0 run to cut the Bulldog lead to 27-26 with 16:34 on the clock. LA Tech answered with a layup and a three-pointer to push its lead to 32-26 with 14:18 to go. Neither team scored again until MT's Tavarres Jefferson hit a layup with 11:47 left.

Middle Tennessee cut the LA Tech lead to 32-30 with a layup from Hunter at 11:10. On the other end of the floor Jones swiped a steal and hit a jumper to knot things up at 32-32 with 10:50 left to play. The Bulldogs then used a 12-0 run to take a 44-32 lead with 6:27 to go. The Blue Raiders managed to the cut the deficit down to nine at 46-37 with 3:454 remaining, but LA Tech then rattled off a 9-2 run to claim the 16-point victory.

LA Tech was led by a pair of players scoring double-figures as Jaron Johnson paced the team with 15 points. Alex Hamilton put up 12 points, while Michale Kyser and Kenyon McNeail added nine points each. Kyser snagged a game-high seven rebounds and had eight blocks.

On the night, MT struggled from the floor connecting on just 17-for-48 for 35.4-percent, while LA Tech was 21-for-45 for 46.7-percent. MT shot just 16.7-percent from long distance, while the Bulldogs shot 20.0-percent from behind the arc. LA Tech won the battle of the boards 33-27, while also outscoring MT in the paint 32-24.

Middle Tennessee returns to action Saturday, March 1, hosting Rice at 5:30 p.m. for Senior Night.

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