NASHVILLE – Two Blue Raiders scored in double figures in a 73-53 loss to Vanderbilt on Monday night.
Senior Desmond Yates scored a team high 14 points while junior James Washington scored 13 of his own as Middle Tennessee (7-7) shot 37.5 percent from the field.
Middle Tennessee performed well on the defensive side of the ball grabbing 33 rebounds 12 of which were on offense. Washington and junior Trevor Ottley each had six rebounds while junior Rod Emanuel added five of his own.
Vanderbilt (11-3) shot 51 percent as a team with five players scoring double figures but none posted double figure rebounds or assists. The Commodores had 10 blocks while Middle Tennessee had two but the Blue Raiders had more steals with seven.
“This is an excellent, much improved Vanderbilt team. I thought we got terrific shots all night. The huge stat of the night was that they had 10 blocks and really intimidated us around the goal,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “There are a lot of positives out of the game and I’m disappointed in the loss but we will be fine. All of our attention is now focused on Arkansas State and Arkansas Little Rock later this week.”
Yates scored the first basket of the game but Vanderbilt took the lead afterward and never looked back. At the eight minute media timeout, Middle Tennessee trailed 22-14 and then the Commodores went on a 7-2 run extending it to 13-points, 29-16.
The Blue Raiders continued to battle and closed the gap. VU took a 12 point lead, 41-29, at the half.
At the break, Haddock, Yates and Washington led the team with six points each as Middle Tennessee shot 35.5 percent from the field.
Middle Tennessee did perform well on defense with four steals and 16 rebounds. The Blue Raiders had the same number of rebounds as Vanderbilt but Middle Tennessee had nine offensive rebounds to their four.
In the second half, the Blue Raiders battled but could not stop the Commodores who took a 16 point lead, 65-49, with three minutes remaining in the game.
The Blue Raiders will be back in action on Thursday, Jan. 7 at 7:05 p.m. when they face Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark.