Cold second half stymies Blue Raiders
By Daniel Johnson
MTN Sports Reporter March 11, 2021
Despite a back-and-forth game throughout the first half, the Blue Raiders could not overcome a second half scoring drought, falling 76-56 to North Texas Wednesday night.
“There’s a sense of urgency when you’re down eleven with four minutes left to go, a lot of things have to go right in order for you to come back”, said MTSU head coach Nick McDevitt. “We missed a couple shots that were critical and they made a couple big ones. I just thought they really kept battling.”
The Blue Raiders shot 58 percent from three in the first half and even took at 36-35 lead with 3:13 left to go in the first half. North Texas quickly responded with a 10-0 run to close out the half leading 45-36.
Coming into tonight, the Blue Raiders averaged seven threes made a game. By halftime, they had already made seven of their first twelve. Jordan Davis and Jalen Jordan led the team in scoring, both having 12 points. DeAndre Dishman was right behind them with 10 points and three rebounds.
“When momentum shifts, you have to find a way to dig yourself out of it and get it back going for yourself”, said Dishman. “They did a good job of converting when they had the ball and it just slowed us down.”
The Blue Raiders could not carry over their hot three-point shooting into the second half, shooting just 1-for-9 from behind the arc. From the 12:23 mark in the second half, only trailing 54-51, the Blue Raiders would go 11:02 without a made field goal, before a dunk by Dishman with 1:21 left in the game.
“You look at the final score and we got beat by 20. There’s a couple big possessions and I’ll say whether it was the way the ball bounced or whatever, now you’re down 11 instead of it going your way and you’re down three”, said McDevitt. “What you’re having to do over the last four to five minutes is drastically different. The way the game had to be played out to give ourselves a chance to win became very different.”
Despite a difficult season, McDevitt looks forward to a better future.
“I hate that our fans didn’t get to see us play in person very much. They didn’t get the opportunity to know this group and really know these players. That’s something we always pride ourselves on. I’m really looking forward to having them back in the stands and I like the young nucleus we have on this club.”
The Blue Raiders finish the 2020-2021 season out with a record of 5-18 and 3-13 in conference play.