MT set for rematch against Tulsa in C-USA semifinal
Semifinal match televised on CBS Sports NetworkMarch 14, 2014 · @MTAthletics
EL PASO, Texas - After dropping a 58-53 decision at Tulsa (19-12, 13-3 C-USA) earlier this season, the No. 3-seed Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (24-8, 13-3 C-USA) is set for a rematch as the Raider take on the No. 2-seed Golden Hurricane in the semifinal round of the Conference USA Championship Friday at 3 p.m. CT.
Date: Friday, March 14
Tip-Off: 3 p.m. CT
Teams: No. 3-seed Middle Tennessee vs. No. 2-seed Tulsa
Location: El Paso, Texas
Arena: Don Haskins Center (12,000)
Television: CBS Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Dave Ryan
Color Analyst: Pete Gillen
Radio: WGNS (100.5 FM, 101.9 FM, 1450 AM) / WMOT (89.5 FM) / The Game (102.5 FM, 97.5 FM)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Color Analyst: Kyle Turnham
Live Audio | Live Stats
This will the second meeting between Middle Tennessee and Tulsa. Earlier this season, the Golden Hurricane claimed a 58-53 victory Jan. 23 in Tulsa. In that contest, Shawn Jones led the Blue Raiders with a game-high 22 points, while snagging nine rebounds. MT senior Tweety Knight was second on the team, posting 11 points.
The Golden Hurricane was led by a double-double from Lew Evans, tallying 12 points and collecting 11 boards. James Woodard registered a team-high 16 points for Tulsa, going 4-for-9 from the floor and 5-for-7 from the line.
In No. 2-seed Tulsa's 70-49 quarterfinal victory over No. 7-seed Thursday, Woodard posted a game-high 24 points, going 9-for-13 from the floor. Rashad Smith added 14 points for the Golden Hurricane, while D'Andre Wright recorded 10 points. The win was the ninth in a row for Tulsa and the 15th in its last 18 games. The nine-game win streak is the longest since the 1999-00 season. The Golden Hurricane has now won six consecutive games on the road or neutral courts.
On the season the Golden Hurricane is led by Woodard, averaging 15.2 points per game. Smith is second on the team with 12.1 points a contest, while Shaquille Harrison is next with 9.8 points an outing. Woodard also leads Tulsa on the boards, corralling 6.0 rebounds a game.
BLUE RAIDER BULLETS
• The No. 3-seed Blue Raiders picked up a 62-48 win over No. 6-seed Old Dominion in the quarterfinal round of the C-USA Championship to advance to the semifinals, taking on No. 2-seed Tulsa Friday at 3 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network.
• Against ODU, MT was led by four seniors posting double-figures as Neiko Hunter led the way with 16 points, while Kerry Hammonds II and Tweety Knight each tallied 11 points. Shawn Jones pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
• No. 1-seed LA Tech and No. 4-seed Southern Miss also picked up victories in the quarterfinals, marking the fourth time in the 19-year history of the C-USA Championship that the top four seeds advanced to the semifinals (2006, 2001, 1996).
• The four semifinal teams (Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss) were a combined 42-6 against the rest of the teams in Conference USA this season.
• With MT holding ODU to 48 points and Tulsa holding Tulane to 49 in the first two quarterfinal games, it marks the first time that teams were held under 50 points in back-to-back games in C-USA Championship play since March 12, 2008 (Tulsa 66, East Carolina 49, UTEP 71, SMU 49).
• MT is 9-16 in semifinal rounds as members of the Ohio Valley Conference and Sun Belt Conference. Middle Tennessee holds a 5-4 mark in conference championship games, including a 0-2 record in Sun Belt title games.
• Senior Shawn Jones was named to the C-USA All-Conference First Team, averaging 15.1 points per game and 8.1 rebounds a contest in league play. He ranks 19th in the country in field goal percentage in the NCAA statistical rankings released March 10, shooting 58.1-percent from the floor.
• The 2013-14 season marked the first time Middle Tennessee has swept the conference player of the year awards on both the men's and women's sides. Ebony Rowe of the MT women's basketball team was named C-USA Player of the Year earlier in the week.
• Senior Tweety Knight was named to the C-USA All-Defensive Team, after leading the Blue Raiders with 64 steals, ranking 30th in the nation and second in C-USA according to the NCAA statistical rankings released March 10. Knight is 32nd in the country and third in the conference, averaging 2.06 steals per game.
• Middle Tennessee is the only school in the country this year to have both its men's and women's programs win a regular season league title in the athletic department's first year in a new conference.
• The Raiders shared the 2013-14 C-USA men's basketball regular season crown with LA Tech, Tulsa and Southern Miss. This is the third time in the league's 19-year history that multiple teams have tied for the regular season championship. In each of the previous two instances (2004 and 2001) the No. 3-seed has gone on to win the C-USA Tournament title.
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