MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Middle Tennessee men’s basketball team (4-0) hits the road for the first time this season Thursday, traveling to No. 16/14 Florida (3-1), where the Blue Raiders will put their eight-game road winning streak on the line, the longest active road streak in the country.
Date: Thursday, Nov. 21
Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Teams: Middle Tennessee at No. 16/14 Florida
Location: Gainesville, Fla.
Arena: O’Connell Center (11,548)
Television: SUN Sports / ESPN3
Channel Info: Direct TV (653/656), Dish Network (422/372), AT&T U-Verse (1722)
Radio: WGNS (FM 100.5, FM 101.9, AM 1450) / WMOT (89.5 FM) / The Game2 (94.9 FM)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Color Analyst: Kyle Turnham
Live Video | Live Audio | Live Stats
BLUE RAIDER BULLETS
• The Blue Raiders look to extend their nation-leading road winning streak to nine games Thursday night, taking on No. 16/14 Florida.
• Middle Tennessee improved to 4-0 on the season Monday, collecting a 76-59 win against UALR as senior Shawn Jones picked up his second-straight double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Kerry Hammonds II recorded 20 points, Reggie Upshaw Jr., had 13 and Tweety Knight added 11. Four or more Blue Raiders have score double-figures in each of MT’s four games so far this season.
• MT’s contest against Akron Nov. 16 was the second for the team this season against a 2013 NCAA Tournament team. Jones recorded his first double-dip of the season against the Zips, tallying a career-high 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Hammonds and Jaqawn Raymond put up 17 points each, whileTweety Knight added 11.
• MT picked up its second come-from-behind victory of the season Nov. 13, claiming a 77-70 win over North Florida inside the Murphy Center as four Raiders scored in double-figures. Raymond and Marcus Tarrance led the way with 14 points each, while Jones had 12 points and Upshaw, notched the first double-double of the season for MT with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
• The Blue Raiders tipped off regular season play, Nov. 13, picking up a 78-75 victory over 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Southern University. Neiko Hunter led MT with a career-best 20 points and six rebounds, going 6-for-11 from the floor and 3-for-4 from behind the arc. For his efforts, the senior was named Player of the Week by the Tennessee Sportswriters Association Nov. 12.
• MT had five players score in double-figures against the Jaguars Nov. 13 as Hunter had 20, followed by Hammonds with 19, Tarrance with 13, Knight with 12 and Jones with 10.
• The Blue Raiders opened the 2013-14 campaign with a four-game homestand, welcoming Southern, North Florida, Akron and UALR to the Murphy Center. MT now hits the road for the first time Nov. 21, traveling to the Sunshine State to take on No. 16/14 Florida. The upcoming season should be exciting and challenging for the Blue Raiders as they face three NCAA Tournament teams in their first five games in Southern, Akron and Florida.
This will be the second meeting between Middle Tennessee and Florida. The Gators lead the series 1-0, picking up a 66-45 victory in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 18, 2012. Current Blue Raider starters Shawn Jones and Kerry Hammonds started in last season’s contest against Florida. Jones finished with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting.
In the last meeting, the Blue Raiders shot 32-percent from the floor for the game, while Florida hit 21-of-45 shots for 46.7-percent. Despite the 21-point loss, MT was down by only three at halftime with the Gators holding the 29-26 advantage going into the break.
The matchup will be MT’s third against a 2013 NCAA Tournament team. Florida advanced to the Elite Eight of the Big Dance last season, after eliminating tournament darling FGCU in the Sweet 16. This will be MT’s first game against a ranked opponent this season as the Gators sit 16th in the AP Top-25 Poll and 14th in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
Florida is 3-1 on the season with its lone loss coming at No. 12/15 Wisconsin via a 59-53 decision Nov. 12. The Gators picked up a season-opening 77-69 win over North Florida Nov. 8 and continued the Global Sports Exempt Tournament Nov. 16, beating UALR 86-56, before defeating Southern 67-53 Nov. 18.
Florida has started the same five in each of its four games this season in Casey Prather, Kasey Hill, Patric Young, Will Yeguete and DeVon Walker. According to the GatorZone.com, Hill will be sidelined for up to a month after suffering a high-ankle sprain against Southern. He will most likely be replaced in the starting lineup by Michael Frazier. Hill averaged 10.3 points per game and a team-best 17 assists.
Prather leads Florida, averaging 19.3 points per game to go along with 6.8 rebounds a contest. Frazier is second on the team in scoring, putting up 13.5 points a game, while grabbing 4.3 boards an outing. Dorian Finney-Smith has played in two contests this season, averaging 12.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
In the Gators’ last contest, Young led Florida with 12 points, while Prather flirted with a double-double with 10 points and nine boards. Walker added 10 points on the night, going 4-for-9 from the field.
Against UALR, Prather was quite impressive, putting up 27 points, while going 10-for-11 from the floor. Finney-Smith was second on the team in Florida’s 86-56 victory, recording 17 points and nine rebounds, while Hill had 14 and Young chipped in 10.