|Four Blue Raiders reached double figures, paced byLaRon Dendy’s 21 points, as the Middle Tennessee men’s basketball team upended North Alabama, 108-58, in an exhibition contest on Monday night. JT Sulton, Jacquez Rozier and Jason Jones also chipped in double-digit performances.
Dendy’s impressive debut was highlighted by an 11-for-13 performance from the stripe, while the senior forward hit 5-of-9 shots from the field. He also added a pair of assists and one steal in 18 minutes of action.
Sulton notched 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbed four boards and Rozier, also debuting for the Blue Raiders, contributed 17 points and a pair of blocked shots. Jones scored 16 points, had six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Blue Raiders had contributions across the board, with a team-high 10 rebounds from Kerry Hammonds, five assists from Raymond Cintronand another four assists from Bruce Massey. Cintron also knocked down a trio of 3-pointers for nine points, one of eight Blue Raiders to hit a trey in the contest.
MT shook off a slow offensive start to finish the game shooting 56.1 percent and held the Lions to 33.3 percent shooting from the field. The Blue Raiders also owned a 48-29 advantage on the boards in addition to forcing 16 turnovers.
Both sides struggled to find a shot early, as Sulton knocked down the game’s first field goal at the 16:34 mark. But the Blue Raiders never looked back, going on a 16-2 run thanks in part to a spark from Rozier off the bench. Rozier was immediately productive in his first minutes on the court, hitting back-to-back jumpers to get the offense rolling.
MT stretched the lead to as many as 32 at the break with a 58-26 advantage after James Gallman nailed a deep triple just before the break.
The Blue Raiders continued the onslaught in the opening minutes of the second half, commanding a 40-point lead with 18:03 to play. The Lions worked the deficit down to 27 with 14:04 to go, riding a double-double from Theron Jenkins with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the contest, but it was as close as they would get the remainder of the game.
MT hits the floor again Friday to open the regular season against Austin Peay. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. CT at Murphy Center.