LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Middle Tennessee used an 18-0 run in the second half to its advantage in a 66-52 win over Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday night.
The Blue Raiders (8-8, 3-1) have played three of their first four Sun Belt games on the road coming away with a 3-1 record to begin the conference season.
"It was a good road win. We have played three of our first four on the road and there is something to be said for that. It doesn't guarantee anything but does put things in our favor a little bit with three straight games at home," head coach Kermit Davis said.
Middle Tennessee had four players in double figures with freshman James Gallman scoring a team high 14. Gallman entered the game off the bench and went 4 for 6 from behind the arc.
Senior Montarrio Haddock was one rebound away from a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Seniors Desmond Yates and Calvin O’Neil each added 10 points.
Middle Tennessee shot 42.3 percent from the field and 57.1 in the second half. The Trojans (4-12, 0-5) shot just 29.2 percent in the game from the field and 26.9 percent in the second half.
"It was really balanced scoring. We had four in double figures, almost five, and had great bench play. Boogie got himself in early foul trouble but in the second half we put together a great stretch. We held their team to 30 percent and we had 57 percent. James Gallman got a hot hand and we did a good job of getting the ball to him. We got it going and Boogie made a great extra pass to Gallman. Washington came back to really run our team in a good fashion," Davis said.
The Blue Raiders had 40 rebounds in the game with 10 on the offensive side of the ball while UALR had 31 rebounds.
Middle Tennessee took an early seven point lead, 11-4, after a jumper by O’Neil. Then UALR went on a 12-4 run to take a 16-13 lead with 10:50 remaining in the first half.
From there the two schools battled back and forth with UALR taking a two-point lead, 29-27 at the half after making 12 of its 17 free throw opportunities.
O’Neil guided the Blue Raiders in the first half scoring 10 points and making all of Middle Tennessee’s six free throw opportunities. Haddock added eight points of his own as the Blue Raiders shot 32.3 percent from the field.
UALR shot 31.8 percent from the field with Bozeman scoring a team high 11 while Davison added seven.
The two teams continued to trade points to begin the second half. Middle Tennessee took a 40-37 after shot from behind the arc by Gallman. Middle Tennessee then scored 12 unanswered after three-pointers by Yates and Gallman extending its lead to 15, 52-37, with eight minutes to play.
After scoring no points for the Blue Raiders in the first half, Yates along with Gallman went on an 18-0 run to extend the lead.
With under 1:30 to play UALR cut the Middle Tennessee lead to nine after a three-pointer by Davison, 59-50. The Trojans had to foul the Blue Raiders to get the ball back so Middle Tennessee extended its lead at the end of the game.
Middle Tennessee returns to Murphy Center next week playing host to Florida International on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.