MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee rebounded from its loss earlier in the week taking an 87-54 win over Cumberland on Friday night.
Four Middle Tennessee players scored in the double-figures, seniors Theryn Hudson and Montarrio Haddock and freshmen James Gallman and J.T. Sulton with Gallman scoring a team high 19.
Gallman ended the game 4 for 9 from behind the arc and 5 for 11 from the field. The Knoxville, Tenn., native was a perfect 5 for 5 from the charity stripe.
The Blue Raiders (3-3) shot 44.9 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line after making 18 of 24 opportunities. Hudson went 6 for 8 from the field while Sulton was 4 for 8 and 4 for 5 from the free throw line.
“We’re still a work in progress and I thought we defended better in the second half. I’m just glad we got out of our little funk. James Gallman made some shots and that was a confidence builder for him. It was also a confidence builder for Theryn Hudson because he has played better in the last couple of games,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “Nothing against Cumberland, but we have to do this against higher levels of competition. There were a lot of positives, though, we got a few guys in who don’t normally get to play and were much better in the second half.”
Cumberland (1-6) shot 42.1 percent in the game with Brandon Springer leading the way with 24 points.
Middle Tennessee also picked up its defense with 34 rebounds, 14 of those on the offensive side of the ball. Sulton led the way with six while four different players grabbed four rebounds each.
“In the first half, Cumberland’s Brandon Springer got ahead of us a little bit and nobody could stop him. In the second half, we took it upon ourselves to lock him up. We went on a little run and came out playing strong defense,” Haddock said. “Defense makes everything better and that’s the best defensive game we’ve had since Marshall. Hopefully, that will carry over to the UAB game and we can beat them on the road.”
Junior James Washington guided the offense throughout the night as he had 11 assists and also had five steals.
The Blue Raiders led by seven, 37-30, at the half after leading by just two, 30-28 at the four-minute media timeout. Middle Tennessee led Cumberland throughout the first half but after it would get a significant lead the Bulldogs would come right back.
At the break, Sulton led the team with nine points while Gallman had eight. The team had just 14 rebounds, Sulton grabbed five, while Cumberland had 20.
Middle Tennessee did cut down on turnovers in the first half as it just six while the Bulldogs had 16 with seven Blue Raider steals.
The Blue Raiders extended their lead to 13-points early in the second half after a three-pointer by Gallman, 45-32. At the 25-minute media timeout, Middle Tennessee had taken a 20-point lead, 52-32 after playing solid defense and creating offensive opportunities.
Middle Tennessee never looked back making it 83-49 with five minutes remaining in the game.
The Blue Raiders will be back in action when they travel to Birmingham, Ala., to face UAB on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.