MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (UALR) - Middle Tennessee (15-4, 7-1 SBC) topped UALR (11-9, 5-4 SBC) by an 82-50 final Thursday night at the Murphy Center. The Blue Raiders finished the game shooting 56.0 percent from the floor (28-of-50) and 64.3 percent from long range (9-of-14).
The loss ended a two-game winning streak for the Trojans and dropped UALR's road record to 0-7 on the season.
Middle Tennessee finished the game with five players in double figures. Neiko Hunter led MT with 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field in 20 minutes. Shawn Jones scored 12 points, Marcos Knight chipped in 11, and Tweety Knight and Raymond Cintron scored 10 points each.
Freshman Josh Hagins led UALR with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with three assists and two steals. Classmate Kemy Osse scored 11 points and came up with three steals. Junior Will Neighbour led UALR with seven rebounds to go along with six points.
The Blue Raiders' defense forced the Trojans into 19 turnovers and limited the Trojans to just 35.3 percent shooting from the field. MT also held UALR to a season-low four assists.
Middle Tennessee won the battle of the boards, 37-to-25, and led in points in the paint, 28-to-20. The Blue Raiders handed out 23 assists on 28 made field goals.
Middle Tennessee led 36-17 at intermission following a first half that saw the Blue Raiders shoot 48.1 percent from the floor (13-of-27) and 66.7 percent from three-point range (6-of-9).The Blue Raiders held a 20-to-13 edge on the boards and were able to score 12 points off of 12 UALR turnovers. Middle Tennessee ended the half on a 25-to-7 run.
Trailing 10-8, the Blue Raiders used back-to-back treys from Knight to take a 14-10 lead with 12:54 remaining in the half. After a steal and finish by Osse, Middle Tennessee scored six-unanswered points to take a 20-12 lead, then grew its lead to ten on a dunk by Sulton that made it 24-14 at the nine-minute mark. A trey by Osse from the corner ended a four-minute scoreless streak for UALR and made it 29-17 with 5:19 left in the half, but the Blue Raiders ended the half on a 7-0 run to take a 36-17 lead into halftime.
With Middle Tennessee leading 55-35 with 10:35 left to go, the Blue Raiders rattled off 11-straight points to go up 66-35 after a pair of free throws by Jones with seven minutes left to play. MT's lead grew as large as 33 on a three pointer by Zane Gibson at the 3:47 mark.
UALR returns to action when it plays at Western Kentucky on Saturday at 5 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court.