Friday, May 17, 2024

Men’s Basketball: Blue Raiders slow start extends losing skid

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Getting behind by double digits, mounting a solid comeback, but still losing. A script that has gotten stale, but keeps happening for the MTSU Blue Raiders basketball program.

The Blue Raiders (4-16, 0-7 C-USA) lost its 11th consecutive game as Louisiana Tech (14-5, 5-2 C-USA) caught fire on offense to evade an upset in the Murphy Center Thursday night 80-73.

After falling behind 18-5 in the first six minutes and by as much as 22 in the second half, MTSU once again put together a final effort to cut the massive deficit to as little as five points. But again, the clock struck triple zeroes and another tally to the loss column was added.

The formula for another loss was decided by MTSU’s poor shooting, a theme of the season, paired with a hot-handed Bulldogs squad that shot 59 percent from the floor and 54 percent from three-point range.

In comparison, MTSU was 38 percent from the field and a rough 7-for-29 from deep.

C.J. Jones had a rare “off-night” with 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting, still tied for the team-high with Antonio Green who once again came off the bench. Jayce Johnson continued a solid run of form in the last few games with 13 points as one of the team’s best secondary scorers.

A positive change from previous games is the Blue Raiders improvement in the free-throw department, hitting 87 percent of its 23 attempts in the contest.

Mubarak Muhammed’s incredible performance of 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting and 17 rebounds served as the catalyst for the Bulldogs offense as the senior carved up the Raiders defense.

What’s Next:

The Blue Raiders best chance at snapping the streak might come Saturday at the Murphy Center against Southern Miss.

The Eagles are 2-5 in conference play, but have won its last two matches against Rice and UAB. USM’s guard duo of LaDavius Draine and Gabe Watson have put up big numbers in the past few games and will challenge C.J. Jones and Antonio Green to try and match their output.

Tip-off is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and will be available to watch on ESPN+.

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