Photo courtesy of MT Athletics
Story by Tyler Lamb / Staff Writer
A career-high outing from junior forward Reggie Scurry was not enough for Middle Tennessee State to overcome Rice on Thursday night in Houston, Texas, as the Blue Raiders fell 79-68 to the Owls.
Coming into the evening, Middle Tennessee (5-15, 2-5 C-USA) was riding a two-game win-streak with home victories over UTSA and UTEP, respectively. It was a neck and neck ballgame mid-way through the second half, but Rice (8-12, 3-4 C-USA) went on a 14-0 run with eight minutes remaining, a task that was ultimately too much for the young Raiders to bounce back from.
“We did some nice things for 30-plus minutes,” head coach Nick McDevitt said in his postgame interview on the Blue Raider Network. “You’re going to have to battle through runs, particularly when you’re on the road. We did a lot of that for 32 minutes. We responded to one of their mini runs with a 9-0 run of our own to take that one-point lead. But from the eight-minute mark to the four-minute mark of the (second half) was where we didn’t compete well enough, and that was disappointing.”
With 22 points and 12 rebounds, junior forward Reggie Scurry agreed that the four-minute stretch was the deciding factor.
“It was just a mental lapse,” Scurry said. “We’re just young, so I feel like on the road there’s a lot of stuff going on. We just collapsed mentally.”
A bigger meaning behind Scurry’s career night
One year ago today, Reggie Scurry was lying in his Missouri State dorm room bed recovering from a severe burn he received from a cryotherapy treatment gone wrong. Cryotherapy is an alternative to an ice bath, used in an effort to relieve muscle pain, sprains and swelling. A new remedy for the team, Scurry, along with his teammate, Abdul Fofana, were in the machine for just a few seconds before the two starting feeling a tingling sensation in their feet.
In an interview with the Springfield News-Leader last April, Scurry said he was 20 seconds away from permanently losing the mobility in his toes. An excruciating recovery that would wake him in the middle of the night due to the blood rushing back into his feet, Scurry can look to Thursday’s performance as a personal victory.
“A year ago, I was in the bed dealing with my feet injury thinking that my career was over,” Scurry said. “I was just thinking tonight, ‘Keep being aggressive like tonight might be your last game.'”
Scurry throws it down! He’s got 17 on the night
18:44 // 2H pic.twitter.com/CBJCQ0uKbX
— MT Basketball (@MT_MBB) January 25, 2019
For Scurry, every game is a gift. Collecting six of his 12 rebounds on the offensive end to give him his third double-double of the season, the forward seems to be better than ever.
“It’s a blessing. It’s just a blessing to be out here playing with the people I love,” Scurry said.
Sims cools off while Farquhar steps up
Since the calendar flipped over to 2019, sophomore point guard Donovan Sims has averaged 13.7 points per game. Playing 35 minutes against the Owls, Sims connected on just two shots, each being three-pointers to give him just six points on the night.
In need of key points, Junior Farquhar rose to the challenge. Easily his best performance of the season, the freshman guard posted eight points to go along with seven rebounds, two assists and one steal, all while committing zero turnovers.
“I thought Junior Farquhar was excellent tonight. He had a really big effort play in the first half of play that kind of energized our team,” McDevitt said. “I thought (Scurry and Farquhar) were very good. We just didn’t have enough guys play well for the majority of the game to win on the road.”
Johnson lost early to foul trouble
A solid cog in the Blue Raider rotation, freshman Jayce Johnson committed two quick fouls in the first half that placed him on the bench. Trying to rotate over and take a charge just 35 seconds into the second half, Johnson committed his third foul of the evening, causing him to be even more cautious on the floor.
Playing a total of just 10 minutes, Johnson never found his rhythm, finishing the night with five points and one rebound.
The Blue Raiders continue their Texas road trip as they take on North Texas Saturday night at 5 p.m. The game can be streamed ESPN+ and can also heard 94.9/95.1 FM.