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November 14, 2008
MT 94, Trevecca 53: Inside the box
"I thought we shared the ball well offensively. Anytime you make the extra pass those shots usually go in. The team did a good job screening and I just got lucky tonight."
Kevin Kanaskie was 6-of-6 from 3-point range and the Blue Raiders hit 12-of-18 overall from behind the arc to set a new team record for 3-point shooting accuracy.
Trevecca kept it tight through the opening four minutes of the game and had the score tied 8-8 at the 16:31 mark. Leading 12-8, Blue Raider coach Kermit Davis inserted Darren Avery, who quickly energized the team by grabbing a couple of loose balls on the floor and skipping ahead a beautiful pass while sliding near the midcourt stripe that led to an Eric Allen layup. Avery was the driving force behind the game changing 16-0 run that put the game out of reach early for the Trojans.
THREE STARS (By Bobby Raymond)
G Kevin Kanaskie: Kanaskie was clearly the man of the evening as he proved he is settling in nicely at shooting guard while Nigel Johnson runs the point. Kanaskie shot lights out from the field and was even better from behind the three-point line, hitting all 6 shots from long range. Kanaskie led all scorers with 22 points, dished out a game high 11 assists and paced the Blue Raiders with six rebounds.
F Desmond Yates: It took Yates some time to get in the flow of the game against Trevecca, but he quickly stepped up and gave Middle Tennessee a solid performance. Yates hit 8-of-10 from the floor, including 2-of-2 from the 3-point stripe. He also was the beneficiary on several of Kanaskie's 11 assists. Yates finished with 20 points, five rebounds and three steals.
F Darren Avery-In the words of Kermit Davis, Avery "changed the culture of the game" with his hustle plays in the first half. He was the spark that ignited Middle Tennessee's huge first half run that put the game out of reach quickly for the Trojans. Avery will wake up tomorrow with bumps and bruises from diving on the floor, but he'll also have the satisfaction of playing a key role in the win.
Honorable Mention: John Hopson-There is not a player on the Blue Raider basketball squad that works harder than Hopson, the walkon guard who drained both of his shot attempts in the final moments of the game, including one 3-pointer. He understands his role on the team and his teammates and coaches respect him greatly.
DID YOU NOTICE?
Nigel Johnson, Kevin Kanaskie, and DeMario Williams combined for 21 assists and just three turnovers. Their efforts passing the ball helped contribute to the Blue Raiders racking up 32 assists on 38 made baskets, an incredible percentage. The trio also hit 12-of-17 shots from the floor to combine for 33 points.
MT outrebounded Trevecca by only three despite having a big size advantage, a stat that didn't go unnoticed by Kermit Davis. Davis circled rebounding as his biggest concern leading into Sunday's game with Houston Baptist. Desmond Yates scored 20 points on only 10 shots, but did not record an offensive rebound in 31 minutes of play. If he can become a consistent offensive rebounder, he will be a near lock for Sun Belt player of the year and the Blue Raiders will be very hard to beat.
WATCH OUT FOR...
Junior college transfer Montarrio Haddock was slated to start tonight's game until what Davis termed a "minor incident" with a tutor on Thursday. Haddock's minutes were cut due to that but he still managed to pull down four rebounds in just 12 minutes of play. Davis said tonight's disciplinary action will not affect Haddock for Sunday's game against Houston Baptist, so expect Haddock to log more minutes against the Huskies.
Nov. 16: Houston Baptist at Middle Tennessee, 3 p.m.