MTSU MEN’S BASKETBALL DEFEAT OLE MISS
By JOE SHIVAK
Photos by CLINT WOOD
Murfreesboro, TN ( 12/8/12)……….The Men’s Blue Raiders basketball team beat the Rebels of Ole Miss, 65-62 in a hot contest Saturday afternoon at Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University ( MTSU). The high scoring Rebels who were averaging over 80 points per game came into the game with a perfect 6-0 record played in front of the largest home court crowd of this season at 6, 107 fans.
Kerry Hammonds hit an outside bucket with only :40 seconds left to play to give Middle Tennessee a 61-59 lead. Murphy Holloway missed on a long 3 point attempt on a busted play which saw the ball hit nothing but air. With :20 seconds left on the clock, the Rebels intentionally foul JT Sutton who made good on a 1:1 free throw try giving the Blue Raiders a 63-59 advantage. With :07 , Bruce Massey is sent to the foul line where he makes good on one of two free throws. Ole Miss’s Jarvis Summers made good on a 3 point shot to cut the Middle lead to 64-62. With less than :01 to play, Raymond Cintron is sent to the stripe where he converts one of two shots, upping the Blue Raider lead to 3 points. The Rebels throw the inbound attempt out of bounds past the half court mark and Middle inbounds the ball to end the game.
MTSU head coach Kermit Davis said after the game, “What a great atmosphere in Murphy Center. We appreciate everyone coming out on a Saturday. It was good. Ole Miss is a really good team with a lot of experience. They’re going to win a lot of SEC games. It was just kind of a physical SEC half-court, grind-it-out game.”
MT defeated Ole Miss for the second year in a row and has now won four straight meetings with the Rebels. Middle remains undeated on their home court with a 4-0 record.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “For a team that averages 87 points per game, we had a tough time tonight. This was a huge game for both parties. We did not execute well enough to win on the road.”
Kennedy’s Rebels were playing their first away game of the year.
He went on to say, “What I didn’t anticipate was the fact that we would just hand them the ball. They just took our ball like what happens when you play with your big brother. When you go on the road and you turn it over 18 times and you give the home team 23 points off turnovers, quite honestly I was proud that our guys continued to grind to give us a chance to tie the game at 59. It was a very physical game from the jump.”
Coach Davis is a graduate of Mississippi State ( 1982 ) and he and coach Kennedy have a great relationship off the court. Middle now leads the series 4-3 since their first meeting in 1947 when Old Miss won 65-36.
Hammonds explained the go ahead shot in the post game interview, “We had run something, and JT (Sulton) picked up his dribble, and he didn’t have anyone to throw it to, so I just came and got it on the handoff. I wanted to go to the rim, but I felt (Marshall) Henderson on my hip, so I just shot over him. I had to shoot it. If I’m open, I’m going to shoot it.”
Henderson had gone to the floor trying to draw a charge call, leaving Hammonds wide open to shoot.
Henderson lead all scorers with 17 points after scoring only two points in the first half. Hollaway added 11, and Nick Williams also had 11 points. Reginald Buckner, a starting forward put in 10 points.
Marcos Knight lead the Blue Raiders with 14 points as a starting guard but Knight picked up 4 personal fouls which limited him to 28 minutes of playing time. Cintron had 10 points as the only other Middle player to be in double figures.
Middle Tennesse’s bench scored 26 points compared to only 6 for Ole Miss. Tweety Knight lead the bench scoring with 9 points in 16 minutes. The Blue Raiders brought in seven players from the bench including Knight and Hammonds. JT Sulton, Jacquez Rozier, Torin Walker, James Gallman and Neiko Hunter all had playing minutes.
The scored was tied 9 different times and the lead changed 9 times. Ole Miss largestest lead was 6 points which occurred at 14:19 in the first half while Middle lead by 8 at the 5:44 mark of the second.
Middle Tennessee lead at the half 33-29. Knight and Holloway each had 9 points for their respective teams.
With 3:44 left until the half time break, both Massey and Williams received technical fouls as each player lay on the floor after hard contact.
Middle shot 44.4% from the field, 33.3% from 3 point land and 63.2% from the foul line. Ole Miss shot 42.3%, only 23.8% from beyond the arch and 81.3% from the line. Henderson tried 12 attempts to sink a 3 point bucket, making only 3 of them. Cintron, Knight, Hammonds and Massey were the Middle players who attempted 3 point shots.
The next game for Middle will be December 13th when they travel to Nashville to take on in state rival Belmont.