The men’s basketball season officially began on Tuesday night as Middle Tennessee (0-1) took on Murray State. Inconsistency was killer Tuesday, as the Blue Raiders fell 76-65.
Junior standout Reggie Upshaw and guard Giddy Potts carried the weight of the team on their shoulders for most of the night, while the remainder of the team couldn’t get in the same groove.
It wasn’t the Blue Raiders best performance, but Tuesday was important as the start for a team expecting big things this season. At points in the game, they appeared sloppy, out of sync, and lackluster. A major factor was not being able to take advantage of free points. Middle Tennessee struggled at the free throw line, only shooting 68%, and it hurt the Blue Raiders in their comeback efforts late.
Also, the Blue Raiders failed to capitalize as well as Murray State, despite having the advantage in the turnover battle. The Blue Raiders only hurt themselves and left valuable points on the board that would’ve helped the outcome tremendously.
Middle Tennessee out rebounded the Racers but it didn’t correlate to their offensive success. The Raiders looked flat and failed to have an effective presence in the paint offensively, consistently.
For Murray State, they came prepared but it took a while for them to get into their rhythm. They trailed for most of the first period, but once they gained possession of the lead, they never looked back. Obtaining the lead was a huge momentum swing, and one that the Blue Raiders couldn’t bounce back from.
The Racers played as a unit and moved the ball around beautifully, recording 18 assists on the night. Wayne Langston, Jeffery Moss, and Demarcus Croaker all surpassed double digits in the points column but also had their fair share of assists.
Moss finished the night with 19 points on 5-for-16 shooting, while Langston was the more efficient of the bunch finishing 7-for-10 with 15 points.
As Middle Tennessee moves on from a tough night, they will need offensive support for Reggie Upshaw who shot 8-for-12, and finished with 18 points. Granted, Giddy Potts had an excellent performance as well, shooting 5-for-7, adding 15 points, but they will need an entire team effort. The key heading into their next contest will be ball movement, and getting open shooters other looks besides Upshaw and Potts.
Ultimately, the Blue Raiders will just need to clean up around edges and get into a consistent rhythm and they will be dangerous.
The Blue Raiders will travel to Nashville this weekend to take on Tennessee State University where they will hope to rebound from Tuesday. The game will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
To contact Interim Sports Editor Connor Ulrey, email firstname.lastname@example.org.