Coach Kermit Davis warned his players before the game that they needed to keep on Troy no matter what because this was a team that could get back into a game quickly with a prolific 3-point shooting display. So what happened early this evening in the Murphy Center was almost prophetic as Troy (7-9,2-3 SBC) notched their first win on the road this season with a 2nd half 3-point shooting display dismantling Middle Tennessee (6-9,2-3 SBC) by a score of 71-57.
Troy led the Sun Belt Conference in 3-point shooting, and after starting 1-9 in the first half from long-range, the Trojans ended the game 9-22 for 41%. The Trojans had five players in double figures with Richard Cheney leading the way with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Boo Ramsey added 14 points, Justin Jonus had 12 points, O' Darien Bassett had 12 points, and Cedric Jackson had 10 points.
Middle Tennessee looked promising in the 1st half shooting an impressive 7-15 for 47% from downtown to take a 33-27 halftime lead, but it was cold shooting and the inability to get the rebounds in the 2nd half that would eventually doom the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee had two players in double figures. Kevin Kanaskie led all scorers with 17 points. Desmond Yates added 11 points, and Tim Blue had 9.
Troy scored the game's first 8 points, but a Kanaskie trey broke the deficit as Middle Tennessee would go on a 12-4 run to tie the game at 12-12. Desmond Yates drained a trey that gave Middle Tennessee it's first lead of the game 18-17 with 8:37 to go in the 1st half. The lead flip-flopped throughout the latter part of the half until Kevin Kanaskie and Calvin O' Neil made back-to-back 3-pointers that put Middle Tennessee up 33-27 at the half.
In the second half Middle Tennessee's Desmond Yates' lay-up made it 35-27 giving the Blue Raiders their largest lead of the game. Troy would gradually whittle away the Middle Tennessee lead until a Justin Jonus 3-pointer put Troy up for good 47-46 with 11:52 to go. Middle Tennessee ended the game shooting 21-57 for 37% and 5-5 from the charity stripe. Troy shot 24-53 for 45% and had their fair share of trips to the free throw line where the Trojans shot 14-18 for 78%.
Middle Tennessee will return to action on Wednesday, January 10th when the Blue Raiders travel to Florida Atlantic for a 6pm central time tipoff. Troy's next game with be at home against South Alabama on Thursday.
TIDBITS: -----------,/p> p>* The Blue Raiders' disappointing loss to Troy was the third consecutive loss at home this season. The last time Middle Tennessee lost three in a row at Murphy Center was in the '04-'05 season when the Blue Raiders fell to South Alabama, New Orleans, and Western Kentucky between January 20th and February 3rd.
* Middle Tennessee falls to 2-2 all-time against Troy. Troy is 2-0 against the Blue Raiders as Sun Belt competitors.