Raiders down Owls on Blue Pride Saturday, 65-41

MT closed out home slate with Senior Day

March 1, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (22-8, 12-3 C-USA) returned to its winning ways Saturday evening on Blue Pride Saturday, picking up a 65-41 victory over Rice (7-21, 2-13 C-USA) for Senior Day.

With the win, MT moves into sole possession of first-place in the Conference USA standings with seven league games on the docket for Sunday. The Raiders are 45-4 inside the Murphy Center over the last three seasons and 25-1 in home conference games.

The Blue Raiders honored seven seniors before the start of the game as Kerry Hammonds II, Tweety Knight, Shawn Jones, Neiko Hunter, Zane Gibson, Torin Walker and Tavarres Jefferson were recognized on the court alongside friends and family.

Men's Basketball vs. Rice
Middle Tennessee was led on the night by a trio of seniors scoring double-figures as Jones led the way with 15 points. He went 4-for-8 from the floor and 7-for-10 from the line. Hammonds was second on the team, putting up 14 points, going 7-for-8 from the charity stripe to go along with six rebounds. Hunter posted 12 points for the Blue Raiders, while pulling down a team-best seven boards.

All seven Blue Raider seniors landed in the scoring column for the night as Jefferson led the reserves with six points off of two threes. Walker recorded his first career start and the first bucket of the contest, while Gibson posted two points within final 30 seconds of the game. Knight made a free throw, while handing out three assists.

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The Blue Raiders jumped out front early in the opening half, cruising to a 9-0 lead off of buckets from Walker and Jones and threes from Hunter and Hammonds. Rice managed to cut the MT lead back down to four with 10:51 to go in the first half, but the Raiders hit a pair of treys and pushed the lead to double-figures with 8:25 to go in the half.

Middle Tennessee went to the locker room at halftime with a 33-19 lead and never looked back. The second frame was much like the first and MT saw its lead swell to as much as 25 with 3:18 to go. The Blue Raiders ended up settling for a 64-41 victory.

On the night, MT shot 39.5-percent from the floor and 42.9-percent from three-point range. Rice was 31.8-percent from the floor and 7.7-percent from long distance. The Owls' 41 points tied their season-low. The Raiders won the battle of the boards 39-29, while outscoring the Owl bench 21-15.

The Blue Raiders return to action Thursday, March 6, traveling to UAB for a 7 p.m. contest to close out the C-USA regular season.

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