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Middle Tennessee (19-7) at Charlotte (14-10)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 7 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Halton Arena (9,000) -- Charlotte, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: MT 13-2, UNCC 9-3. Away Record: MT 5-4, UNCC 2-7. Neutral Record: MT 1-1, UNCC 3-0. Conference Record: MT 9-2, UNCC 5-6. Series Record: Charlotte leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will try to keep pace in the tightly contested Conference USA race as they trek to Halton Arena to challenge the Charlotte 49ers.

The Blue Raiders powered past Southern Miss for an 81-64 victory in their last outing. The win was the seventh in a row for Middle Tennessee, which is tied for first with Texas-El Paso and Louisiana Tech in the C-USA standings with a 9-2 record. Coach Kermit Davis's team has outscored the opposition by an average of 9.4 ppg in conference play this season. The Blue Raiders came out of the gate on fire against USM as they connected on 9-of-14 attempts from 3- point range and assisted 13 of their 15 made field goal attempts en route to a 47-29 halftime lead. Middle Tennessee has gone 17-2 in the month of February over the last three years, including 12 straight dating back to the 2011-12 season.

The 49ers are on a three-game losing streak after their shocking, 59-56 home loss to the Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday. Marshall entered the contest with a 1-11 record in true road games and Charlotte had won nine of its first 11 games at Halton Arena. Charlotte was expected to be a contender to win the C-USA after its impressive non-conference performance which included victories over Kansas State and Michigan, but it has been mediocre en route to a 5-6 conference ledger. Coach Alan Major's squad is averaging 1.7 ppg less than its foes in C-USA action.

This will be just the second meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Charlotte downed the Blue Raiders by 15 points in the only previous encounter, which took place in Lexington, Kentucky on Dec. 18, 1987.

In Middle Tennessee's win over the Golden Eagles, Kerry Hammonds knocked down six shots from beyond the arc for a game-high 26 points. The Blue Raiders also received a strong contribution from Neiko Hunter, who finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. Tweety Knight tallied eight assists and three of the team's six steals. Shawn Jones, who leads the team with 15 ppg and 8.5 rpg, was held to just seven points before fouling out after just 15 minutes of action. Hunter is MTSU's second option on the offensive end with 13.5 ppg and Hammonds is close behind at 12.9 ppg.

Charlotte went into halftime trailing Marshall by four points and could not overcome the deficit after the break due to a horrendous offensive performance in the second stanza. The 49ers were limited to 27.3 percent efficiency from the floor including a 2-of-17 clip from beyond the arc over the final 20 minutes of the contest. Trailing 59-56 with 19 seconds to play, the 49ers forced a Marshall turnover and had several chances to send the game to overtime, but 3-pointers by Shawn Lester and Pierria Henry in the final moments were both off the mark, allowing the Herd to escape with the victory. Lester finished with 16 points to lead the 49ers. Terrence Williams chipped in with 14 points, Henry dished out 10 assists and Willie Clayton pulled down 16 rebounds in the losing effort. Lester is posting a team-high 13.2 ppg, followed by Henry, who has shown off his versatility with 11.9 ppg, five rpg and 6.2 apg. Clayton is scoring 11.5 ppg and anchors the 49ers on the glass at 9.2 rpg.

Although the 49ers are not playing up to their potential, they are still capable of stopping the Blue Raiders. Charlotte's poor showing versus the Herd was very unusual considering how dominant it has been at home this season. Middle Tennessee's senior class is just one victory away from becoming the winningest class in the program's history. If the Blue Raiders continue to punish their opposition from beyond the arc, they will be very tough to fend off.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Middle Tennessee 72, Charlotte 67

02/20 10:18:26 ET

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Scoreboard
NBA
Final
CLE 110
GSW 99
1st
PHO 17
OKC 5
 
Final
KNST 53
NKENTUCKY 78
 
Final
CITA 74
ETST 73
 
Final
GWEBB 91
CSOU 81
 
Final
VMI 82
CHAT 86
 
Final
BRY 77
CCST 69
 
Final
PBY 80
CCAR 69
 
Final
DREX 44
DEL 58
 
Final
UNCA 71
HIGH 75
 
Final
TEMPL 66
HOU 54
Final
EKENT 63
JVST 57
 
Final
WRST 58
UWMIL 61
 
Final
MSU 90
MINN 96
Final
RFLSH 63
MNTER 60
 
Final
OSU 81
NEB 57
Final
MAST 67
NEOM 73
 
Final
ELON 72
NE 65
 
Final
LIB 80
RAD 69
 
Final
FD 85
SHU 90
 
Final
UNCG 81
SAMF 67
 
Final
LIU 69
Terriers 74
 
Final
TENN 65
VANDY 73
Final
RMU 91
WAGN 59
 
Final
FUR 53
WCU 49
 
Final
IUPUI 71
WILL 66
 
Final
CAMP 65
WINT 50
 
Final
MERC 72
WOFF 76
 
Final
APP 58
GSOUT 77
 
Final
UNT 81
CHAR 65
 
Final
MURST 65
EILL 57
 
Final
MARS 87
FIU 69
 
Final
WKENT 71
FATL 68
 
Final
ILLCH 67
UWGB 72
 
Final
ORU 74
NDST 58
 
Final
NDAK 75
NARZ 85
 
Final
RICE 54
ODU 63
 
Final
MON 60
RIDE 63
 
Final
PEAY 64
SIUE 61
 
Final
LATU 77
UTEP 60
Final
SMISS 70
TXSA 66
Final
TENST 52
TENNM 69
 
Final
CHIST 74
GRCN 70
 
Final
UMKC 69
WLVRN 50
 
Final
SALA 57
LAMON 75
 
Final
ARKST 81
TXARL 80
 
Final
ARKLR 92
UGST 83
 
Final
TXST 67
TROY 61
 
2nd
COL 54
ARZ 81
 
2nd
PURD 78
RUTG 64
 
2nd
MEM 54
SMU 63
 
Final
NCOL 77
SUTAH 64
 
2nd
MORE 80
TENT 64
 
Final
EWASH 92
MNTST 68
 
Half
PORT 41
BYU 33
 
Half
CSNO 35
CSFU 39
 
Half
IDAHO 24
MONT 33
 
2nd
SCU 19
PAC 22
 
Half
UCSB 30
UCD 30
 
2nd
CPSL 30
UCI 40
 
1st
UTAH 15
ARST 7
 
11:00pm Tonight
STAN
ORST
11:00pm Tonight
GONZ
SDU
11:00pm Tonight
USF
GAELS
 
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
LBSU
 
Final
NYR 4
ARI 3
Final
CLB 2
MON 5
Final
BUF 6
VAN 3
Final
FLA 0
CHI 3
Final
TOR 3
PHI 2
Final
WIN 1
STL 2
3rd
NAS 2
MIN 3
 
1st
SJS 1
DET 0
 
1st
LOS 0
OTT 0