Men’s Basketball: Hawthorne’s impact, tough play lifts Blue Raiders past 49ers 86-67

James Hawthorne changed the energy and impacted the game beyond the box score against the 49ers for bonus play on Feb. 23, 2019 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (David Chamberlain / MTSU Sidelines)

Photo by David Chamberlain / MTSU Sidelines 

Story by Austin Laymon / Contributing Writer

The Blue Raiders hosted the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday night at Murphy Center and claimed a 86-67 victory after an impressive offensive showcase. It was a much needed victory for MTSU to keep their C-USA Tournament hopes alive.

“This win tonight was really big, but I also thought it was a game that would test our maturity level,” said head coach Nick McDevitt.

Antonio Green and Donovan Sims combined for 41 points on the night. Green was recognized before the game for breaking the record for most three pointers in a single season and added more to his total against the 49ers. The record was previously held by former Blue Raider great Giddy Potts.

MTSU started hot out of the gates and remained that way until the final buzzer. However, they struggled to slow down the 49ers offensive production too.

The Blue Raider offense continued its trend of running through Green and Sims. Green had a great scoring outing but distributed the ball nicely to teammates too.

MTSU held a 10-point lead, but head coach Nick McDevitt called a timeout for his team’s lack of defensive miscommunication. Following the timeout, the Blue Raiders went on a 13-7 run to end the half.

In that run, Green hit two three-pointers, Sims completed an and-one play and Scurry threw down an impactful jam that extended their first half lead to 16.

They ended the half shooting an impressive 69 percent from the field and 66 percent from three. The Blue Raiders’ offense was simply too much for Charlotte’s defense in the first half, and Charlotte ended the half with 11 turnovers on offense.

The Blue Raiders also showed great defense in the first half by keeping offensive threat Jon Davis on lockdown. Davis ended the first half 0-6 from the field.

However, Davis began to find his rhythm and racked up 12 points quickly coming out of the break. McDevitt then brought in James Hawthorne to change the energy of the game.

Hawthorne hit a tip in that brought the lead back to double digits to silence the 49ers’ offensive run. Hawthorne’s success continued later on in the second with a post move that dazzled the defense and then nailed a three of his own on the next possession.

“Honestly I just love impacting the game,” Hawthorne said. “You don’t have to score to impact the game. To get myself going I do all that the little stuff and hustle plays.”

In the closing minutes, Sims nailed a three-point dagger to close the game out. For the first time this season, the Blue Raiders had five players score double digits.

MTSU will now go on an eight day break without play before traveling to Rice next Sunday. The Blue Raiders will take on the Owls for their next contest on March 3 with tip-off set for 2 p.m.

To contact Sports Editor David Chamberlain, email

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