MT downs Old Dominion in C-USA Quarterfinal, 62-48
Raiders advance to semifinalsMarch 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.
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.
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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