Story by Calvin White / Contributing Writer
Josh Jefferson’s 30 point night leads the Blue Raiders to a 78-63 win over the Charlotte 49ers. For the second game in a row, a second half spark helped MT run away from their opponent.
Jefferson finished shooting 9-13 from the field, 4-7 from beyond the arc, and 8-9 from the foul line to go along with five rebounds and one assist. He credited his performance to the flow of the offense and his teammate’s ability to get him the ball.
“It was just in the flow of the offense,” Jefferson said. “We were making a lot of shots along with good ball movement and teamwork.”
Jefferson and Charlotte’s Jahmir Young took turns scoring baskets throughout the entire first half. Jefferson ended the first half with 22 points while Young finished with 18. Both added eight points to their halftime totals but Middle Tennessee head coach Nick McDevitt credited Eli Lawrence for slowing Young down in the second half.
“I thought Eli Lawrence was great on him,” McDevitt said. “Making some of his catches hard and I think about the last 30 minutes he had eight and it sounds kind of goofy saying a guy did a great job guarding someone that scored 26 but I thought once we got Eli on him predominantly it really helped us.”
Another strong second half helped lift the Blue Raiders to a win for the second straight contest. This was the second straight game that MT held their opponent scoreless from beyond the arc in the second half. This was also the least amount of rebounds that the Blue Raiders have given up in a game this year, outrebounding the 49ers 34-22. This second half effort produced the largest margin of victory ever for MT against Charlotte. McDevitt credited his team’s toughness and focus in helping them cruise to a 15 point victory.
“We were really sharp over the first five to seven minutes,” McDevitt said. “Clearly any time you’re making shots that helps and I think Tyler Millin’s ability to make those first two 3-pointers of the second half turns a seven point game into a 14 point game. I think we did a pretty nice job of not relaxing. I just thought we kept doing the things that got us that lead and we got a great win.”