Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (20-3, 10-0) carried a nine-game winning streak into it’s game against the University of San-Antonio Roadrunners tonight. Though they struggled through an inconsistent first half, the Blue Raiders used their defense to run the streak to ten games, defeating UTSA 69-59.
Middle’s trend of getting off to slow starts plagued them again on this game, as they found themselves tied with UTSA halfway through the opening stanza. The Roadrunners took their largest lead of the night at 20-13, while holding the Blue Raiders scoreless for over seven minutes.
Giddy Potts broke through for the Blue Raiders by making consecutive threes and a mid-range jumper to key a quick 10-0 run to take a 23-20 lead. UTSA scored the final five points of the half to take a 25-23 lead into the locker room.
Potts led the way for MT with 13 first-half points. While he was scoring efficiently, the rest of the team struggled to get anything going on offense.
The second half got off to an inauspicious start for the Blue Raiders, as UTSA quickly pushed the lead to six on a Jeff Beverly jumper early in the second half. Then, the defense stepped up its intensity by holding the Roadrunners scoreless for almost six minutes. This gave the offense some life and they didn’t waste it, reeling off 17 straight points to take a 40-29 lead. The Roadrunners continued to battle, getting the score within 59-53 at one point. They were never able to get closer and Middle closed the game down, winning by a final margin of 69-59.
Potts ended the night with 22 points on four makes from long range, joining the 1,000 point club in only his junior year. Senior JaCorey Williams added a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds, six of which were offensive boards. Reggie Upshaw scored 11 points on an efficient 5-8 shooting from the floor, and Antwain Johnson rounded out the Blue Raiders in double figures with 10 points off the bench.
Facing adversity against a team that hadn’t lost a game at home before tonight, the Blue Raiders toughness on the defensive end was the difference tonight. They held the Roadrunners to 39 percent shooting from the floor, only making five of their 17 three-point attempts. the Raiders also out-rebounded the Roadrunners 35-30. The most important stat of the night is that the Blue Raiders are now 10-0 in conference play, with a two-game lead over UAB.
The Blue Raiders will travel to El Paso to take on the UTEP Miners on Saturday; tip-off is set for 7 p.m.