Jaguars Come From Behind For Win Over Middle Tennessee

February 20, 2009 · By · Filed Under Basketball, Men's 

Jaguars turn up the defense and rally from nine points down for their third consecutive victory. With this win the Jaguars improve to 16-11 overall and 9-7 in the Sun Belt Conference while the Blue Raiders fall to 15-12 overall and 8-7 in the Sun Belt Conference.

MTSu started the game with a 7-0 run in the first three minutes of the game. The Jaguars would follow that up with a 6-0 run of their own in the next three minutes. Both teams would trade baskets over the next five minutes until USA finally gained the lead on a dunk by Ronald Douglas at the 9:01 mark of the first half.

The Jaguar lead would get out to as much as three points, 16-13, before MTSU would come back to regain the lead and go into halftime with a 26-23 advantage.

The beginning of the second half started simlarly to the first half with MTSU jumping out with an 8-2 runover the first three minutes. This run would put the Blue Raiders in front by nine points, 34-25, with 17:06 left in the second half. Early in the second half, LaShun Watson took an elbow to the mouth. It resulted in Watson receiving five stitches and he did not return to the game.

Down 41-33 with 11:25 remaining in the second half the Jaguars would regain the lead and control of the game with a 15-2 run over a five and a half minute run to take a five point lead. Kevin Kanaskie tried to keep the Blue Raiders in the game with a 3-pointer, cutting the lead back down to two, but USA would not let them get closer than that moment the rest of the way. The Jaguars would win the game 63-57.

Coach Arrow remarked about the game, “That was a very, very physical game. Both teams came out and got after it. The difference in the game was we held them to 36 percent and we had nine blocked shots. When you have that many blocked shots from guys getting to the hole, that’s almost like a turnover.”

Freshman phenom CJ Garner lead all USA scorers with 15 points for a career high, with 13 of them coming in the second half. More impressively he hit 5-6 free-throws in the final 38 seconds to help seal the victory. Coach Arrow remarked about Garner, “C.J. is growing up; he’s not a freshman anymore, We call him an advanced freshman, with all the experience that he’s gotten. He ran his team tonight very well.”

Three other Jaguars scored 11 points each: Domonic Tilford who went 6-6 fron the free throw line and made the only Jaguar 3-pointer for the game. DeAndre Coleman added 11 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for his seventh double-double of the season and his ninth of his career. Ronald Douglas scored 11 points and had five blocked shots but only made 5-12 free throw attempts for the game.

MTSU had a pair of players score 15 points: Desmond Yates and Memetrius Green with only one 3-pointer between them. Kevin Kanaskie was the only other player in double digits for the Blue Raider with 11 being held to three 3-pointers for the contest.

USA held MTSU to 36% shooting for the game and 4-13 for the game from beyond the 3-point arc. But USA dominated the free-throw line going 28-42 while MTSU went 5-12. MTSU obviously had foul problems with Yates fouling out with 6:21 remaining in the game and another bench player fouling out in the game plus two other starters with four fouls each.

This win moves USA over Middle Tennessee to the 3rd position in the eastern division of the Sun Belt Conference, a full three games behind Troy for second place in the eastern division.

The Jaguars return home for their regular season finale when they host Louisiana-Monroe for a 7:05pm match-up in the Mitchell Center.

So come out and SUPPORT YOUR JAGS!!!

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