MTSU men continue to struggle, fall to 0-6 in C-USA play

MTSU junior C.J. Jones (23) led the Blue Raiders with 23 points against FIU Saturday night. MTSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS.

MTSU's struggles in Conference USA play continued last week as the Blue Raiders  dropped road contests at FAU (97-94 in overtime) and FIU (83-69).

On Saturday, MTSU fell behind 44-35 at halftime against FIU, and despite getting within four in the second half, saw FIU use a 9-0 run to take an 18-advantage.

The Blue Raiders dropped to 4-15 overall and 0-6 in C-USA play, while FIU improved to 13-6 and 4-2.

"We played their style of play too much tonight to be able to get the win," MTSU coach Nick McDevitt said. "They're really good at playing a very fast pace and when they speed you up they can be really hard to beat.

"Because of some early foul trouble, we had to play a lot of inexperienced guys out there together tonight. That group did play well together for stretches, but FIU's press sped us up and forced us into some bad shots at times, and that's an area we're still working to improve in."

MTSU was led by C.J. Jones' 24 points, followed by Antonio Green with 16, Reggie Scurry and Jayce Johnson with 10 apiece.

On Thursday, MTSU did break out of a shooting slump but couldn't hold off FAU after leading by as many as 11 points late in the second half to the second-place Owls.

Donovan Sims tallied 24 points, including making 8 of 12 from 3-point range.

"We've been through a lot of adversity this season with injuries and tough losses, and after a meeting earlier this week I feel like we turned a corner with our play today," Sims said. "As for my shooting tonight, I just knew it felt good coming out of my hand in shoot-around so once a couple went down in the game I just kept shooting it with confidence."

Johnson tallied a career-high 22 points and added seven rebounds, while Green added 21 point and six boards.

"This one really hurts," McDevitt said. "Our team needs a win, and I wish I could help them more than I did. I'm really proud of our team. They played hard on the road against a team that is now 4-1 in the league and they deserved to win tonight."

MTSU plays host to Louisiana Tech on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Murphy Center.

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