NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was as tightly contested as a game could be at The Curb Event Center as The MTSU Blue Raiders traveled to Nashville to take on the Belmont Bruins. An in-state matchup (a series led by MTSU 23-18 according to goblueraiders.com) with campuses separated by just 35 miles and two teams with six wins was always going to be an interesting game but then you add that both teams were -110 money line before the game, even Vegas knew this one was going to be close.
And close it was, as the first half ended with the teams knotted up at 30 apiece, and the second half ended tied at 70 after a last second buzzer beating three ball from Belmont senior, Ben Sheppard. Overtime on Belmont’s home floor did not go The Bruins way as they were outscored 15-5 by MTSU. This was a poised response in overtime from a raiders team that fought to the final whistle.
Eight players combined from both teams had double digit points. Ben Sheppard led all scorers with 33 points followed by MTSU sophomore, Teafale Lenard Jr. with 20. MTSU’s sole senior, Deandre Dishman, led all players with 10 rebounds, and in a game as closely contested as this one was, rebounds are of extreme value.
Outscoring your opponent in overtime on their home floor after having the game tied on a buzzer beating three was an incredibly poised and mature performance from a Blue Raiders team with just one senior.
This is what MTSU Head Coach, Nick McDevitt, had to say post-game (via goblueraiders.com)
“I thought our guys just stayed mentally tough. I liked what they were saying to each other in the huddle in between the end of regulation and overtime. To say that and then go out there and do it, I thought, showed a lot of mental toughness. You’re always on edge with Belmont because of the way everybody shoots the ball.”
The Raiders next game is against Chattanooga at home in The Murphy Center at 6:00pm on Thursday.