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But unlike Friday night, when USM committed a season-low five turnovers, the Golden Eagles contributed five turnovers to a 10-2 MTSU run that left... Show more

But unlike Friday night, when USM committed a season-low five turnovers, the Golden Eagles contributed five turnovers to a 10-2 MTSU run that left the Blue Raiders ahead 24-23 with 3:11 left in the first half.But LaDavius Draine answered with a 3-pointer and Tyler Stevenson added a jumper in the waning seconds to leave USM ahead 28-24 at halftime.The second half was more of the same, with MTSU (3-7, 1-3) twice taking the lead and tying the game two more times, including 53-53 with 3:13 to play.But Tae Hardy, who had 14 of his career-high 18 points in the second half, made a near-no-look shot in the lane to give USM a lead it would not lose, though the Blue Raiders refused to go away.Stevenson missed two free throws, but a steal by Jaron Pierre Jr. led to a follow slam off a missed shot by Stevenson for a 57-53 USM lead.Jalen Jordan’s free throw brought MTSU within three, but Hardy added a pair of foul shots for a five-point USM edge, 59-54.Two more Jordan free throws made it a one-procession game with 46 seconds to play, before a pair of free throws by Pierre with 29 seconds to play pushed the lead back to five.MTSU’s Jo’Vontae Millner-Criss knocked down a 3-pointer to get the Blue Raiders back within 61-59 with 16 seconds to play, but PIirre hit two more free throws and Draine added another for the final margin.“We were very scared of a letdown (Saturday),” Ladner said. “We played hard, but we weren’t sharp.“But I’m very proud of our guys. We were able to beat a very determined basketball team when we didn’t quite have our ‘A’ game. Our guys grinded it out.”For a second consecutive game, MTSU struggled shooting the basketball, hitting 36.2 percent from the floor and 23.1 percent from 3-point range.USM committed 20 turnovers, but the Blue Raiders coughed up 16 of their own.MTSU also hurt itself from the free-throw line in the second half with six misses in 14 attempts.USM made 17-of-24 free throws, led by Hardy, who connected on all six of his attempts. Along with his 18 points, Hardy finished with three assists and two steals.Stevenson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Draine had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists.Pierre scored just eight points a day after going for 24, but all eight points came in the second half. He also came away with a game-high nine rebounds and two steals.Jordan led MTSU with 14 points and six rebounds, Millner-Criss had 10 points and five rebounds and DeAndre Dishman finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals.USM will travel to the University of Texas-San Antonio next weekend for a two-game C-USA set.A source: https://www.wdam.com/2021/01/17/usm-holds-off-mtsu-complete-c-usa-sweep/