Potts Shines but Blue Raider Basketball Sluggish Against Faulkner

Thursday’s game was the last tune-up for Middle Tennessee men’s basketball before the team heads to Murray, Kentucky to take on Murray State.

The Blue Raiders were sluggish in the first half, and struggled with perimeter defense for most of Thursday’s contest. Sophomore Giddy Potts was pivotal for the team in the second half, finishing with 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting in the 84-63 win over Faulkner University.

“Mainly me driving the ball to the goal and my teammates finding me on the perimeter,” Potts said about what got him going in Thursday’s game. “We played well the last five minutes of the first half on defense, but we gotta pick it up for the next game.”

Though Thursday was even for nearly two-thirds of the game, Potts seemed to hit shots when needed most, when the Eagles were getting shots to fall.

Reggie Upshaw finished with a double-double Thursday, and shot lights out from the field. Upshaw finished with 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting, and had 13 boards including 10 defensive.

“I think the biggest thing we have to improve on is being able to guard off the dribble,” Upshaw said about what the team needed to work on before facing Murray. “I know early in this game a lot of us were getting driven past, that’ll be a focus in practice for these next two or three days.”

Thursday was important for head coach Kermit Davis and the Blue Raiders, a crucial final preparation for the regular season, and the first dress rehearsal the team has.

“There’s nothing like kinda getting under the lights, getting fatigued a bit,” Davis said about the exhibition. “It was good for us, and really good for us that we didn’t do that at Murray State on Tuesday night.”

Many of the younger Blue Raiders saw action Thursday in the exhibition, especially guard Quavius Copeland who played 23 minutes in place of Jacob Ivory, who wasn’t feeling well. Copeland finished with five assists to go with his six points, and turned the ball over just once.

“It was good that he took care of the ball. Faulkner’s not a team that’s gonna go out and extend their pressure on you,” Davis said about Copeland. “I was pleased, thought he tried to run our team. I was proud of Quay (Copeland), he’s made some good progress.”

The Blue Raiders will prepare for the next couple days before heading out on the road to start the season. Middle Tennessee faces Murray State on Nov 17. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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

To contact Interim Sports Editor Connor Ulrey, email sportseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

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