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MT downs Old Dominion in C-USA Quarterfinal, 62-48

Raiders advance to semifinals

March 13, 2014 · @MTAthletics

EL PASO, Texas - The No. 3-seeded Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (24-8, 13-3 C-USA) picked up a 62-48 victory over No. 6-seed Old Dominion (16-17, 9-7 C-USA) in the quarterfinal round of the Conference USA Championship Thursday afternoon.

The Blue Raiders were led by four seniors posting double-figures as Neiko Hunter paced the team with 16 points, going 7-for-12 from the floor. Kerry Hammonds II and Tweety Knight tallied 11 points each, while C-USA Player of the Year Shawn Jones snagged a game-high 11 rebounds. Knight was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor, while Hammonds went 4-for-9. Jones tallied eight points, going 4-for-7 from the floor.

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Men's Basketball vs. ODU
"We talked about how the double-byes are great, so all season-long you fight and claw to try and get them and they're great to try and win the tournament on the third day," said MT head coach Kermit Davis. "Old Dominion came in with their head up, but we just did an unbelievable job on their perimeter guys. Aaron Bacote has been playing maybe as good as any perimeter guy in the league and to hold him scoreless tonight was remarkable."

The Monarchs scored the first bucket of the contest with 19:06 on the clock in the first half. The 2-0 advantage would be the largest lead for ODU on the day as a Knight free throw and a Hunter layup up MT up 3-2 and the team never looked back.

MT pushed its lead to as many 15 points with 2:18 to go in the first half, but the Monarchs hit a pair of jumpers in the final 41 seconds of the opening frame to cut the Blue Raider advantage to 30-19 at halftime.

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ODU's Keenan Palmore hit a jumper to open the second half to cut the Monarch deficit to single-digits, but MT answered with a 12-2 run to push the Blue Raider lead to 42-23 with 16:27 to go. Old Dominion answered with a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to nine points once more with 12:32 on the clock.

The Blue Raiders ended the ODU spurt with a four-point play by Jaqawn Raymond to move the MT lead to 46-33 with 12:06 left. The Monarchs were never able to pull within single-digits again as the Raiders cruised to a 14-point victory. During regular season conference play, MT picked up a 16-point win at home Feb. 1 against ODU.

MT shot 54.3-percent from the floor and 40.0-percent from long distance, while ODU was 32.1-percent from floor and 26.7-percent from three-point range. The Blue Raiders outrebounded the Monarchs 36-28 and outscored them in the paint 30-10.

The Blue Raiders advance to the semifinals to face No. 2-seed Tulsa Friday at 3 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

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