MTSU Men’s, Women’s Basketball Look to Shake Off Ice

Senior Cheyenne Parker shoots during Thursday night's victory over Rice, 79-61. Parker scored 29 points and 14 rebounds during the night. (Greg French/MTSU Sidelines)

Middle Tennessee’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will take on Marshall this Thursday. The women will travel to Huntington for an early-morning matchup against the Thundering Herd at 10 a.m.

Kermit Davis and the men’s team will host Marshall in their annual Mardi Gras game at the Murphy Center at a new 4 p.m. start time.

The matchup was previously slated for a 7 p.m. tipoff, but instead was moved up due to the inclement weather.

Here’s a preview of some of the key factors in both games:

Women’s Game: The Blue Raider women (17-6, 11-2 C-USA) have won three games in a row heading into their matchup against Marshall, and are coming off an 85-59 drubbing of North Texas this past Saturday.

This will be only the second meeting between the two, with Middle Tennessee defeating the Thundering Herd 75-36 in last year’s contest.

It will mark the first time MTSU will travel to play at Marshall.

The Thundering Herd (14-9, 6-6 C-USA) have lost two in a row, and three of their last four. They lost their last game to Western Kentucky by a final score of 74-60. WKU is second in the conference standings behind the Blue Raiders.

Middle Tennessee will look to force miscues from the Thundering Herd on Thursday. The Blue Raiders rank second in C-USA in steals with 10.6 per game.

Senior Cheyenne Parker and sophomore Olivia Jones will look to keep MTSU playing strong. The duo are one-two in scoring in Conference USA. They are also the second-highest scoring duo in the country, averaging 39.7 points per game as a tandem.

Parker broke another MTSU record this past week, surpassing Kay Wilbanks’ single-season record of 78 blocks in the 1985 season. Parker recorded her 79th block of the season last Thursday in a victory over Rice.

Senior Shanice Cason has been effective at guard for MTSU the past few contests. She has 42 assists and just 12 turnovers in the last ten games.

Marshall is led by a duo of their own. Seniors Chukwuka Ezeigbo and Leah Scott both average double figures in scoring for the Thundering Herd.

Ezeigbo averages a double-double with 10.6 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game. Scott is the team’s leading scorer, tallying 14.1 points per game.

The Blue Raiders will have an early start time Thursday, as the game is set to tipoff at 10 a.m. at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, West Virginia.

Men’s Game: Kermit Davis and the MTSU men’s team (13-13, 6-7 C-USA) are currently reeling after a third consecutive loss. The Blue Raiders have also lost five games out of their last six.

Their last game saw them blow a 21-point lead over North Texas, ending in a 57-56 defeat for the Blue Raiders.

Marshall (9-16, 5-7 C-USA) is trending upward despite their unimpressive record. The Thundering Herd have won three in a row, and five of their last six.

The Thundering Herd notched an 87-82 upset win over WKU last Saturday, beating one of the best teams in the conference.

Rebounding will prove to be key in this matchup. The Thundering Herd are the second-best rebounding team in the conference, grabbing 38.2 boards per game.

The Blue Raiders will look to counter this, as they are the best team in C-USA in rebounding defense. They allow their opponents 30.4 rebounds per game.

Sophomore forward Reggie Upshaw has been one of the few bright spots for MTSU as of late. He leads the team in scoring with 10.3 points per game, and he has two double-doubles in the team’s last five games.

On the other side, senior forward Jacquez Rozier has struggled to put up points in the past couple of games. The senior has failed to score a single point in the last two games, and his highest point total over the last four games is eight.

Marshall’s Ryan Taylor has been the main contributor in recent games. Taylor has recorded seven-straight double-doubles, and 12 overall on the season. He leads Marshall in scoring (15.0 points per game) and rebounding (8.9 rebounds per game), and ranks as the second-best rebounder in the conference.

MTSU will also have to keep an eye on sharpshooter Austin Loop. Loop averages 11.6 points per game, and is tops in the conference in three-pointers made per game (2.76).

He made a career-high six three-pointers in Marshall’s last game against WKU.

The Blue Raiders will host Marshall Thursday night inside the Murphy Center. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.

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 follow him on Twitter at @Connor_Grott.

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