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Blue Raiders hold strong against Ragin' Cajuns

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The MTSU basketball teams swept Sun Belt Conference rival, Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday afternoon at the Murphy Center.

The Lady Raiders made it a perfect 19-0 against the Ragin’ Cajuns with a dominating 72-36 victory. While the men made it 23 wins in a row inside the Murphy Center with an 82-60 over ULL in the second game of the afternoon doubleheader.

The Lady Raiders started off the afternoon against a young Ragin Cajun team, which only had eight players dress out because of injuries and internal team issues. MTSU shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and held the Ragin Cajuns to only 13 points to take a 46-13 advantage at the half. It was the least amount of points allowed in a half by the Lady Raiders this season.

“Our coaches focus a lot on defense,” senior guard Kortni Jones said after the game. “That was our main focus was getting better on defense.”

SBC Player of the Week junior forward Ebony Rowe was only held to six points in the first half, but several other Lady Raiders picked up the scoring. Senior forward Icelyn Elie led the way in the opening half with 17, and Jones added 11, including three three-pointers.

The rout continued in the second half with the Lady Raiders jumping out to a 12-0 run to begin the final half. ULL was held scoreless for the first four minutes, 10 seconds of the second half. All the Lady Raiders saw action during the blowout win.

“It’s really big for us, because we know we are hitting the stretch getting ready for the conference tournament,” Jones said. “I was really proud of those starting five getting a big lead and giving everyone else a chance to get their feet wet and play a lot of minutes.”

Elie finished with a game-high 20 points, while junior forward Lauren March and Jones added 13, and Rowe had 10 points.

As for the men, they also jumped out to a big lead during the first half; thanks to four three-pointers by Blue Raider senior guard Kerry Hammonds to lead the way with 17 points to take a 41-21 lead in the first half. Also, junior forward Shaun Jones added seven points including a thunderous slam over a Ragin Cajun player.

The second half was no different as Hammonds continued his hot shooting from behind the arc. Hammonds finished the night shooting 10-for-11 from the field, including 6-for-7 from long range for a career high 27 points.

“Kerry has spent so much time extra shooting,” MTSU head coach Kermit Davis said after the win. “It’s great to get him going. He had a tremendous night, tonight.”

Hammonds added, “It was one of those nights, the basket felt as big as the ocean, everything just fell in.”

MTSU senior guard Raymond Cintron added 12 points with four three-pointers.

The Blue Raiders are now a perfect 11-0 at home this season.

Next Thursday, both the men’s and women’s team heads to North Texas for a doubleheader starting 5 p.m. The next home game is against Western Kentucky, the men play on Jan. 26, while the women play the Lady Hilltoppers the following day.

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Basketball, Blue Raiders, Lady Raiders, Louisiana-Lafayette, MTSU, Ragin Cajuns, Sports
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