Insell, Davis prepare for UTSA matchups

Head Coach Kermit Davis (center) applauded his team on January 24 as they took down Charlotte, 72-69 in another home victory. (Greg French/MTSU Sidelines)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will both face the University of Texas-San Antonio Thursday. The men will play at San Antonio, while the women will play the Roadrunners at home in the Murphy Center. Here’s a preview of both games:

Men’s Game

The Blue Raiders (12-8, 5-2 C-USA) are coming off back-to-back wins in the past week, and wins in five out of their last six games. UTSA lost their last game against Western Kentucky this past Saturday.

This game will be a battle of great offense versus great defense. UTSA ranks fourth in Conference-USA in scoring offense, scoring 72.3 points per game. On the other side of the ball, Middle Tennessee is second in the conference in scoring defense, only giving up 60.5 points per game.

MTSU will need its defense to shine on Thursday to stop UTSA’s senior forward Jeromie Hill.

Hill has been a force for the Roadrunners, ranking third in scoring (16.8 points per game) and fifth in overall rebounding (7.1 rebounds per game) in the conference. In their last game against WKU, Hill scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

MTSU senior forward Jacquez Rozier will be tasked with battling Hill on the inside. Rozier scored 13 points and recorded four rebounds in the Blue Raiders’ last game against Charlotte on Saturday. Rozier is averaging 8.6 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per contest this season.

Freshman guard Jacob Ivory has come on as of late for the Blue Raiders. He has scored 12 points in each of the past two games.

MTSU will need him to provide scoring in what has been a lackluster offensive season, as they rank 12th in the conference in scoring offense (61.8 points per game).

Women’s Game

Rick Insell’s Blue Raiders (12-5, 6-1 C-USA) will look to continue their winning ways on Thursday against UTSA in the Murphy Center. They have won three games in a row and eight out of their last nine.

The Roadrunners have also won three in a row, scoring an impressive win against No. 24 Western Kentucky this past Saturday. It was the program’s first-ever win against a ranked opponent.

Senior transfer Cheyenne Parker and sophomore Olivia Jones have proven to carry the Blue Raiders this season. The duo are leading the conference in scoring, with Jones averaging 21.3 points per game to rank first in Conference-USA.

This past week, Parker was named Conference-USA Women’s Basketball Player of the Week and Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. She averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks over the past two games.

The story of great offense versus great defense from the men’s game will be repeated in the women’s game. However, the script will be flipped.

MTSU’s offense ranks second in the conference, with the Blue Raiders averaging 74.1 points per game. They will be tested though, as Texas-San Antonio has the top scoring defense in the conference, allowing only 58.4 points per game.

The Blue Raiders will look to stop Roadrunners junior forward Mannasha Bell, who has recorded back-to-back double-doubles.

Bell scored 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in UTSA’s last game against WKU. Middle Tennessee will have to be careful with the ball with Bell on the court, as she ranks fourth in the conference in steals (2.3 steals per game).

Parker and Bell will battle each other on the glass. Parker ranks fourth in the conference in overall rebounds per game, averaging 9.7 rebounds per game. Bell averages 7.4 rebounds per game, ranking her ninth in the conference.

For more Blue Raider sports, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Sport.

To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email or reach him on Twitter at @Connor_Grott.

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