Friday, March 31, 2023

Camryn Weston lifts shorthanded Blue Raiders past Charlotte in conference quarterfinals


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Featured photo by Matt Posey

Story by Calvin White

Frisco, TX- A short-handed Middle Tennessee men’s basketball team had to throw punches with its back against the wall all night in a 66-65 victory over Charlotte that went down to the final play in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Tournament at The Ford center. 

Camryn Weston led the Blue Raiders (19-13) with a career high 22 points, including the step-back 3-pointer that put MTSU ahead for good with 12.7 seconds remaining. Deandre Dishman blocked Charlotte’s (18-14) final shot attempt from Lu’cye Patterson at the buzzer to vault the Blue Raiders into the semifinal round. 

Middle Tennessee trailed early by as many as 13 points in the first half but managed to hold the 49ers scoreless for almost eight minutes to retake the lead before a 49er 3-pointer gave Charlotte the edge 28-26 at halftime. 

MTSU began the second half on a 6-0 run and were in control until Charlotte made a late push and took a five-point lead with 1:48 remaining. Patterson knocked in a 3-pointer that was immediately countered by a long ball from Weston. The Blue Raiders got a stop on the next possession and called a timeout to draw up the final play for Weston. 

“The design of the play was really to get me downhill, try to get the And-1 if I needed to or just get close to the bucket,” Weston said. “But a well-coached team is going to play great defense at the end, so it just played right into my hands. I just had to do what I had to do.”

The Blue Raiders committed only seven turnovers while forcing Charlotte to turn it over 11 times, resulting in 16 points. MTSU also shot 12 free throws compared to Charlotte’s four. Middle Tennessee attacked the rim to draw fouls while the 49ers’ offense is more perimeter oriented, resulting in more outside jump shots and not as much post play. 

“I’m proud of our group,” MTSU head coach Nick McDevitt said. “I just thought we stayed tough and together. I just told the team in the locker room; they kept saying it in the huddles and then would go do it. It just wasn’t words about ‘Hang in there. Next play. Next play.’ We got down 18-5, and they had been playing well. A soft team, weak team kind of folds it up and gets their tails whipped. I just thought we hung tough.”

MTSU advances to take on the regular season champion and No. 1 seed FAU Owls Friday morning at 11:30 in the conference semifinals for a chance to play for the conference championship on Saturday. 

Calvin White is the sports editor for MTSU Sidelines. If you have information for a story, you can contact him at

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