Blue Raiders End 2022 With A ‘100 Miles of Hate’ Hoops Victory

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Photo Via Goblueraiders.com

FINAL:

MTSU 65
WKU 60

MURFREESBORO Tenn. – The biggest rivalry in Conference USA was renewed New Year’s Eve as Middle Tennessee State University and Western Kentucky squared off on the hardwood in the 143rd edition of “The 100 Miles of Hate.”

Middle did not come out of the gates with the energy you would expect for this game, shooting only 25% from the field in the first half and 7% from three-point range. The Blue Raiders did out rebound The Hilltoppers, but it was not enough as Western took a 27-19 lead to the locker room.

The second half began with MTSU holding WKU scoreless until they were able to cut their lead down to just one point. After some back and forth the teams were still only in the 30s until the 11-minute mark. At 7:53 an Eli Lawrence jumper put Middle up, and The Blue Raiders never looked back and ended 2022 by beating their archrival by a final score of 65-60.

Emmanuel Akot led WKU in points with 14, while Jamarion Sharp led The Hilltoppers with eight rebounds. MTSU’s Teafale Lenard Jr. led all scorers with 19 points, and Blue Raider veteran, Eli Lawrence, led all players with 11 rebounds.

Lenard Jr. also had the highlight play for The Raiders that you can watch below.

 

This is what MTSU Head Coach, Nick McDevitt, had to say post-game (via goblueraiders.com)

“I just told our team I was so proud, obviously of the win, but (also) the way we won the game. We didn’t shoot it very well in the first half. We were 9-of-36 from the floor, 1-for-13 from behind the arc, and it did not affect the way were defending. We only made nine shots, but they had only made 11.

“I just thought how hard we were playing, and the way were playing, it didn’t affect our energy. And that was really important. Those are the moments I think that teams that aren’t very tough, that don’t play very hard, it’s not 27-19 at halftime, it’s 37-19 at halftime. You’re going to have to try to beat a team like that by 20 in a half, and that’s hard to do.

“Shot it well in the second half. Everybody was able to play hard and well because of some of the contributions we were getting from guys that were subbing into the game. Tyler MillinJestin Porter, Jared Jones, his last two games have been terrific and as a result, we’re not having to play some guys 35 minutes to where they’re gassed late. Eli with a double-double, had a big boy rebound late in the game. We just got a lot from a lot of different guys.”

The Blue Raiders’ next game is against UTSA, on the road, at 7:00pm on Thursday.

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