Jared Serota" />
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Monday, October 2, 2023


Blue Raiders edge Cougars at home

The Cougars had a tough fight down to the last second when they fell to Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders in a heartbreaking 69-68 loss on Monday night.

Though the Cougars lost, the fans who turned up watched a thriller of a game that featured a career-high 18 points for freshman forward Courtney Taylor, who also added four rebounds, two blocks and an assist.

Senior guard Tye Jackson was the second leading scorer on the team with a season-high 15 points.

The game started with a war of turnovers, with both teams combining for nine turnovers before either team made a field goal at 14:52. The rest of the first half was characterized by full court pressure defense by the Blue Raiders, who caused 16 turnovers in the first half alone, leading to 18 points off turnovers.

The Cougars were only able to get the MTSU offense to turn the ball over nine times in the first half and only capitalized with five points off those turnovers.

This margin in turnovers proved to be too much for the Cougars to overcome in the first half, and the Blue Raiders led by seven at halftime.

Taylor pointed out the turnovers as the main problem in the game.

"I think we came out weak from the beginning," she said. "That’s a good team. You can’t do that. You can’t get that far behind. We fought back. I think we made some bad decisions, and sixteen turnovers in the first half, that’s what killed us."

This game was a tale of two halves, however, as the Cougars forced 10 turnovers, while only giving up five.

After the intermission, the Blue Raider lead swelled to eight before the Cougars came back to tie it at 49 when senior guard Twiggy McIntyre came up with a steal and took the ball the length of the court for a layup with 12:53 left in the game.

Then the Blue Raiders took over and went on a 17-5 scoring run, which included 13 points in a row, to bring the score to 54-66.

With 4:02 left in the game and a 12-point deficit, the Cougars decided they were not going down without a fight.

They began a 14-3 run sparked by two buckets from Taylor, to which freshman guard Brittney Scott added two triples of her own, including one that came off a steal she made. This brought the game to 69-68 with 37 seconds left.

MTSU attempted to run the clock down, and the pressure defense by the Cougars forced a Blue Raider turnover out of bounds with just nine seconds left on the clock. The Cougars inbounded the ball and quickly brought it down the court, where Jackson drove the lane and put up a shot and received a lot of contact, but no foul was called.

McIntyre got the rebound and quickly shot the ball before time ran out. The shot rimmed out as the buzzer went off, and even though McIntyre seemed to have received a lot of contact as well, the game ended, 69-68 in favor of Middle Tennessee State.

That was one of a few questionable moments in the game Monday night. But what was obviously not questionable was the heart of this Cougars basketball squad.

A few players were banged up during the course of the game, and they kept fighting, never giving up.

"We just wanted to come back. We had a lot of heart," Taylor said. "Coach has been talking to us about our heart, and how no one should want it more than we do."

The team will head to Ohio for a three game tournament at the National City Xavier Invitational. The next home game is against a powerful LSU squad ranked fourth in the nation on Nov. 29.

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