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November 7, 2008Middle Tennessee dispatched North Alabama Thursday night, 75-57 in the final exhibition tuneup before the regular season tips off next Friday night.
Who carried the day for the Blue Raiders?
We hand out three stars of the game.
Desmond Yates-The need for consistent post play may be a reoccurring theme for the Blue Raiders until Theryn Hudson returns. Yates played "big" against North Alabama. Having to play center for much of the evening, Yates showed he can defend bigger players. North Alabama tried to attack Yates with 6-foot-9, 290 pound Eddie Lima and 6-foot-6, 300 pound Thomas Fraise. Yates held the Lions' big men to 12 combined points while scoring 25 and pulling down 10 rebounds.
Antwaun Boyd-Of the many Blue Raider newcomers expecting to contribute, Boyd has been the most consistent in the two exhibition games. He is extremely athletic and plays much taller than his 6-foot-2 frame. Boyd filled up the box score against UNA with eight points, three rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.
Montarrio Haddock-Depth at post may me MT's Achilles heel early in the year. Haddock could be a guy who helps to ease the pain while the Blue Raiders wait for a healthy Hudson to return. Haddock appears to be picking up the offense well. He scored on his first two offensive touches off the bench and finished with eight points and two rebounds. Davis is pushing Haddock hard to become a more complete player.
Josh Jones-Jones was not expected to be a significant factor in the rotation, but Hudson's injury makes it more likely Jones could be called on for early meaningful minutes. Jones made the most of his limited playing time against UNA. In 10 minutes, the JUCO transfer hit all three of his shot attempts and played tough defense. If he can find more playing time, it will allow Boogie Yates to move back to a more natural position at forward while Jones is on the floor.